Every driver has at one time, or another fantasized about flooring the throttle on an open road. Reality keeps us from doing it. There are other people on the roads, some roadways that aren’t built for speed, maintenance of roadways could be questionable, the maintenance of our own cars or even our own questionable skills are all things that keep us thinking more responsibly behind the wheel. However, during quarantine, the open roads have proven too attractive to be ignored by some.
In California, the highway stretches have been freed of heavy traffic due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Consequently, some drivers that saw open roads staring at them through the windshield opened up their car’s performance envelope. I mean, they floored it.
The California Highway Patrol recently revealed that citations for people going three digits have gone up over eighty percent when compared to the same time last year. Between March 19 and April 19 of this year, the law enforcement organization wrote 2,439 tickets this year. Last year, it wrote 1,335 citations.
A Chevrolet Camaro was even clocked at 165 mph on interstate 5 in San Juan Capistrano. When they pulled the driver over, he was arrested and charged. Charges included speeding, reckless driving, and wait for it,… driving without a license. He zoom zoom Zoomed right into the slammer.
California is not alone, people with cabin fever have been out on the roads without a legit need to be (i.e., getting supplies or medication, or fulfilling the role of essential workers). This is happening across multiple states. Although performance vehicles, modifications, and speed are attractive to auto enthusiasts, a one hundred mile an hour run just for fun is not wise during the pandemic. The risk goes beyond just the driver and the vehicle.
The Cannonball Run record was set during the quarantine. Yes, there was less risk because fewer people were on the road. However, if one of those Cannonballers was infected with Coronavirus, they not only infected their team, they also potentially infected everybody at every stop along the way in multiple states. Thankfully, they were able to accomplish the record-breaking run without the need for emergency personnel, which also potentially would have been infected trying to help them.
The risk of losing control of a vehicle is very real when traveling at three digits. Cracks in the road, a faulty part, or even the wind blowing in the wrong direction at the wrong time can cause situations where fatalities or injuries occur. The nation’s emergency response teams and hospital systems are already overloaded at this time. The legal way to test the speed and performance of a vehicle is at a sanctioned track or race event. If that does not suffice, then racing simulators are available out on the market.
California Highway Patrol citation numbers for those doing more than one hundred miles per hour are up, proving that quarantine and open roads are an attractive quandary for many. Let’s hope that the number of citations drops as more people come to their senses. The quarantine will end soon. So, the need for responsible people on the road will grow. People hotdogging it through traffic is unnecessary and unsafe.