Revisited: Mirror mirror

When I first posted this, I focused blame on the POV driver who doesn’t know how to drive with 2 wheels in the dirt. Looking at this a couple years later, my thoughts are a little different. Most accidents are avoidable. Two forces generally oppose that:

  • I didn’t see…
  • I didn’t expect…

The real crimes here are (a) the slower driver didn’t see (b) the faster driver didn’t expect. The track is safer when drivers cooperate. It’s still a good idea to learn how to drive with a wheel or four in the dirt.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fastest of them all?

Who is at fault for this horror show? At first glance, it looks like it was an asshat blocking move by the silver Fiero, but most of the fault lies with the BMW (car taking video).

The BMW was much faster than the Fiero and had the luxury of choosing where to pass. On the approach to T6 at RA the normal racing line is to drift out to the left. The slower car is supposed to stay on the racing line and the overtaking car is supposed to go off line. It doesn’t make sense for the BMW to pass on the left. That was error #1. The more critical error was turning the wheel sharply while off track. When going 2 or 4 wheels off, you’re supposed to ease the car back on track. If the steering angle is too steep, this is what you get. In effect, the BMW cut off the Fiero and slammed on the brakes. Done and done-er.

What did the Fiero do wrong? Take a look at the left side of the car. There’s no wing mirror. He had no idea the BMW was approaching on the left. With better situational awareness, the Fiero driver would have expected this pass even with just a rear view mirror. But the Fiero team handicapped their driver for unknown reasons (aerodynamics?), and the team paid the price for their oversight.

Safety first. Learn to drive with a wheel or four off. And keep the mirrors.

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