Why I am more than concerned with the new Cannonball run record
Forget the legality? That's the problem
Recently, three men, Arne Toman, Doug Tabutt, and Berkeley Chadwick has broken the record for the NY to LA Cannonball Run with a 2015 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. They managed to cross the continent in just 27 hours and 25 minutes, which is definitely an incredible feat, and I acknowledge the fact that these guys are incredible drivers. But the thing I want to point out today is that I am more than concerned about the whole Cannonball Run itself.
Image from Vinwiki Youtube
Now, let’s face the facts. What the trio did is definitely a criminal activity. Although they will not be facing any prosecution thanks to the statutes of limitations, that does not change the fact that driving in a public interstate with an ‘average’ speed of 105mph is completely illegal and a hazardous act.
Image from ACO
The biggest reason why I am concerned is that the race took place on public roads. No race marshalls, emergency vehicles ready to go, and most of all, other drivers are not informed about a car zooming past 160mph. Even in closed circuits with extremely talented drivers with tons of experience, accidents happen and often deaths. Now, although these people are excellent drivers, but are they FIA Platinum or Gold drivers?
Furthermore, public roads mean if the tiniest bit went wrong, they aren’t just killing themselves. They are putting numerous other civilians in peril. It could be your child on a school bus going on a field trip, your close friend going on a fishing trip, your loved one coming home from work, or at the worst, it could be you, yourself.
Image from Wall Street Journal
Okay, I can already hear you booing at me and shouting that ‘speed doesn’t kill’. Firstly, speed kills. A near 2-ton car flying by at 160mph is a lethal weapon regardless of whether the driver intends to use it or not. Just use common sense lads, a car going 60mph is way safer than a car going 160mph, both for you and other drivers. And that is the fundamental reason why there are speed limits.
Image from New York Times
Secondly, I hear people chanting “Autobahn! Autobahn!” Yes. Autobahn is a wonderful road. But some facts you should know. Only a certain part of the Autobahn does not have speed limits, and secondly, these guys who drive there follow the rule perfectly. The reason it is possible for the Autobahn to have unrestricted areas is because of the people are driving there safely and accordingly to the rule. They always keep the far left empty except for overtaking purposes and they indicate and change lanes safely.
Now in the U.S. it’s sad to admit, but there are lots of terrible drivers. Cars stay on the overtaking lane without moving; cars change lanes without proper indication, overtaking happens in an inappropriate place and so on. It is not only about these terrible drivers themselves being involved in an accident, but they might also affect other law-abiding drivers including you. So, sadly, the U.S. is not ready for this yet, both in terms of drivers and infrastructure.
Image from Youtube
No matter how you glorify the record, street racing is street racing, and is completely illegal. The real-life is not Fast and Furious or Need For Speed. You aren’t invincible like Dominic Toretto or Ryan Cooper. The record these guys made is astonishing. But should they be applauded? No. Although the race finished safely without any casualties, the fact that these people were continuously threatening public safety does not change. Drive safe and be responsible.
Image from Carmen's luxury travel
At the end of the day…
Okay, I can already hear your hate from here. But here’s the thing. Being a car enthusiast does not mean you should condone street racing, but actually the opposite. A responsible car enthusiast needs to know where you can speed, and where you should slow down. Rules and laws are out there for you to follow, and although you might not agree with it, greatly disobeying it makes you nothing more than a hooligan.
Image from The Truth about Cars
If you want to enjoy speed, please do not do it on public roads. There are tons of track day events and if you want something cheaper, there are autocross events all across the country. It not only is safer but also helps you learn your car’s limits and be a better driver. At least I would prefer to know when my car loses grip at an autocross session rather than at on the interstate going 80mph. I believe those who have experienced proper track sessions will definitely agree with me here. It never hurts you to learn to drive fast in a safe environment with proper education.