One of the classic images of Los Angeles is riding around with the top down, hair streaming in the wind, and the radio blasting. Los Angeles and the road has been immortalized in films from last year’s La La Land (singing in a traffic jam) to the 1950s classic Rebel Without a Cause (drag racing among the young and the restless).
But unfortunately, L.A. is also home to the increasingly popular sport of street racing. Street racers use Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat to send coded messages about where and when to meet for the race. It means the cops can’t find them. But thousands of people can.
These days, most people are familiar with street racing from the mega-popular Hollywood franchise “The Fast and the Furious” starring Vin Diesel.But the reality of L.A. street racing is really nothing like what you see on the big screen. Hundreds of people have been killed since 2000 because of L.A. street races, and over half of them were not behind the wheel – just collateral damage.
Here are five of the reasons why street racing is so dangerous:
Danger #1: Really fast driving
Street racers gun their cars to go as high as 200 mph. The faster a car flies, the more damage it’s going to do if it hits another car, a person, or, say, a traffic sign or light pole.
Plus, a high-speed car is more dangerous to control.The police know this, because when street race accidents happen, they often kill everyone involved. We’re talking drivers, passengers, and bystanders.Even people who happen to be just walking by have been killed by flying wreckage from a crash.
Plus, racers are a tight-knit group. Often, they speed to a race to watch their buds, going 100 mph or more. They use both freeways and smaller roads, increasing the perimeter of the danger zone.
Danger #2: Substances. Abused.
Let’s face it, speed race areas often reek of weed and beer. Plus other substances. Now, we get that not everyone cares that they’re illegal. Or against the law due to age or while driving.
We’re just saying. These substances reduce your ability to drive safely and well. It’s a fact.
Danger #3: You can become collateral damage
Racing cars driven at extreme speeds can become incredibly destructive. They’re like ticking time bombs. If they hit or even tip objects (a stop sign, a garbage bin left in the road, a bicycle), those things tend to go flying. The cars themselves become twisted pieces of metal if they hit each other.
Plus, stuff and cars can go veering across lanes. They can hit trucks and other cars, which can also swerve or even turn over. They can catch fire or explode. The damage becomes dangerous, compounded.
Danger #4: The audience
Yes, traffic accidents happen all the time, and no one has fun. But in almost every accident we can think of outside of street racing, no one is sitting nearby and watching with eyes peeled. All the collateral damage of flying stuff, twisted cars, and flames can harm the people watching as much as the people racing.
Danger #5: Participants think it’s a video game, kind of
We’ve all grown up on video games, right? Cops think that many street racers did too, or films such as The Fast and the Furious. In all these products of mass media, no one ever gets killed. No one is ever hurt. They have extreme fun. They bond. They get up and walk away.
Real life street racing is not like that. Ask the people who were hurt.Ask the people whose friends and family died. After a little reflection, you might want to just stick to the video game.