Thread: Driving HARD
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Old 01-27-2001, 04:25 AM
Robert W. Roe's Avatar
Robert W. Roe Robert W. Roe is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Lehigh Valley PA
Posts: 1,321
Wow. Reminds me of the time I was driving "hard" in a '73 Olds Delta 88 hardtop sedan that had just had a front end alignment. They had taken out some of the negative camber from the front wheels.

Well, I ended up losing it doing 75 through a 65 mph curve, doing several 360 skids that were later measured by the police at 688', hitting a tree sideways with the left rear wheel and flipping the car into a 20' deep ravine after crushing several small saplings. I was 18, and I remember thinking "this is really going to mess up my car." When the car landed, upside down, at the edge of a soybean field, the roof on the passenger's side crushed to within an inch of the top of the headrest. Every body panel on the car except the trunk lid was damaged in some way. I sure did mess up the car.

I was left hanging by my seat belt, the stereo still playing Blue Oyster Cult's "Hot Rails to Hell". I myself was uninjured except for a small piece of glass in my right eye. I was given an immediate ride to the hospital by a passing classmate whose mother worked at the Hospital. (fortunate) I shudder to think what would have happened to a passenger or if the roof had crushed on the other side. Yes, you can say a Mercedes roof wouldn't crush like that etc etc, but I'll never forget my father's look as he met me in the ER.

I will admit that at age 18 I didn't slow down much after this, but my next car was a W108 '72 280SE, and I wore seatbelts religiously. (The statute of limitations has run out on anything I did in that car.) I drove it hard for 18 months, raced every car on the road that was game, and am lucky to have never killed anyone. Then I traded the 280SE on a '78 Datsun 280Z (brand new, still kicking myself for trading the 280SE). Driving the 280Z as "hard" as I drove the 280SE for a year and a half, I had two speeding tickets within six weeks.

I remember the speeds that I used to drive, and today, as a 42 year old father, it makes me shudder. Just begin to think of all the things that could find their way into your path, and just thinking about all the options will make you slow down, hopefully. Remember, any intersection, any driveway, any parking lot, is a place where another vehicle can screw up and pull out in front of you. If you're flying down the road, people who only look 150' up the road before turning or pulling out in front of you may be in for a real surprise.

There was an article in a car mag a while ago claiming that one reason Montana reinstated the 75 mph speed limit was the fact that the average driver isn't used to a Corvette closing in on them doing 170 mph. The difference in closing speed would be like being passed by a 95 mph vehicle, with you standing still.

I still drive fast occasionally, but only on a limited access, well-lit, smooth, dry, police-free stretch of road. I drive hard a bit more often, but I have a diesel. I need to floor it, and when I do think I'm going fast enough, I glance down at my speedo and notice I'm about 2 mph below the speed limit.

Is it true that it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow?
Bob Roe
Lehigh Valley PA USA
73 Olds 88, 72 MB 280SE, 78 Datsun 280Z, 71 T-Bird, 72 Olds 88, 83 Nissan Sentra, 85 Sentra, 73 230.6, 91 Integra, 83 300SD, 91 Volvo 940GLE wagon, 84 300SD, 95 Subaru Legacy L wagon, 02 Mountaineer, 91 300TE, 08 Murano, 2007 R320CDI 4Matic 52K, some Hyundai, 2008 BMW 535xi wagon all gone... currently
2007 Honda Odyssey Touring, 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring
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