One of the most common sources of contact is the punt. This occurs when the trailing car hits the lead car and sends it off track. Often, the cause of the incident is a faster car trying to squeeze through a gap left by a slower car. Passing via punting (PVP) is pretty dishonorable stuff. In the clip below, note the one-handed driving (OHD).


In his defense, the driver of the faster car may say “he should have checked his mirrors”. Yes, that’s true. Nobody wants to get hit. But most of the time, the lead car has right of way, and it’s the responsibility of the trailing car not to hit the leading car. The faster car may also say “rubbing is racing” or “that’s racing”. No, cars aren’t supposed to hit each other.

What can you say about the lead car? Well, if he was trying to teach the trailing car a lesson about right of way, it’s a costly lesson. On the other hand, if the lead car had no idea he was about to be passed, it’s hard not to say “learn to drive”.

Here’s what the NASA rulebook says about punting.

25.4.2 Punting

The term “punting” is defined as nose to tail (or side-of-the-nose to side-of-the-tail) contact, where the leading car is significantly knocked off of the racing line. Once the trailing car has its front wheel next to the driver of the other vehicle, it is considered that the trailing car has a right to be there. And, that the leading driver must leave the trailing driver enough “racing room.” In most cases, “racing room” is defined as “at least three quarters of one car width.” If adequate racing room is left for the trailing car, and there is incidental contact made between the cars, the contact will be considered “side-to-side.” In most cases, incidental side-to-side contact is considered to be “just a racing incident.” If, in the case of side-to-side contact, one of the two cars leaves the racing surface (involuntarily) then it may still be considered “a racing incident.”

27.10 The Punt

Whenever a driver makes nose-to-tail (or side-of-the-nose to side-of-the tail) contact that causes the lead car to spin, or otherwise leave the course, it is considered that the trailing car “punted” the leading car. In almost all cases the trailing car is at fault and is usually disqualified. There may be some argument, in some cases, that the contact was only a light tap, and the leading driver did not have enough experience to control the slight deviation of the back end of his car. While this may be a valid argument, this is not a valid excuse. Drivers should be reminded that even the slightest tap on the bumper of a car driven by a rookie might result in a crash.

27.10.1 The Punt (exceptions)

There can be exceptions to the punt rule. If the offending driver can prove that he/she was hit and forced into the car in front, then this may be grounds for dismissal. If it can be proven that the leading car purposely or inadvertently used his/her brakes in an area that is not a normal braking zone, this may be grounds for dismissal. However, if a driver brakes a little early going into a braking zone and there is contact and a punt results, this is not grounds for dismissal. The trailing driver should be aware that following too closely when approaching a brake area might result in contact.



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