How many online videos do you think there are of burnouts, powerslides and other minor stunts your tyres wouldn’t thank you for? It’s a ridiculous amount, and those are just the ones that get filmed and uploaded.
But while everyone is happy to give an opinion on individual successes and failures, and there are a lot of those, it’s time we had the discussion about whether the car community needs to clamp down on it for all of our sakes.
Picture the scene: it’s a car meet, maybe just with some friends or maybe with a ton of strangers packed into the area like sardines in a can. The temptation to be a bit naughty is strong, and anyone who says they don’t hear a little voice in the back of their mind telling them to do something crowd-pleasing is blatantly either lying or not human.
This is why you get people pulling slides away from meets, or giving birth to a few new clouds at the expense of a pair of tyres. When you know you shouldn’t really be doing it, it adds to the thrill in a way that nothing within the law can match. It’s a fundamental problem with this discussion, to be honest, because whatever you do with the law, people will still want to break it because that’s where the excitement and rebellion is.
But as anyone who likes a lungful of fresh tyre smoke may want to know, that stuff ain’t healthy. Some of the chemicals in that air make the trans-fats in a Big Mac look like a weekend at a vegan spa retreat. Then there’s the obvious risk to bystanders. Get your powerslide wrong and you could end up killing someone, or at the very least wrecking your pride and joy before ending up as just another loser in a YouTube crash. No one mention Mustangs…
As spectators, is this a risk we’re happy to take as part of the scene? Is it just the way we like it?
It’s all about attention. Lots of us love being the centre of attention, like when the squad is checking out your new parts. Drifting out of a car park in front of hundreds of people wielding smartphones is the same principle. Someone lets it get to their head, (probably) shouts ‘watch this!’ and then bad things can happen.
Driving skill (or lack of it) is one way to get noticed, but cosmetic mods and loud exhausts are just the same. Whether we like it or not, this affects the way we look to the outside world because people out of the loop don’t understand the nuances and simply generalise. People who don’t see cars the way we do see our mods and call us hooligans, law-breakers, public enemies and so on, because they don’t see a difference between aggressive looks and aggressive behaviour. That’s not doing anything for the reputation of the car scene in general, and it won’t do us any favours when it comes to the inevitable interactions with the police.
The danger is that we all end up tarred with the same brush. You might be doing nothing wrong, but the cops see your body kit, loud exhaust and tinted windows and until you prove otherwise you’re a potential menace that needs to be investigated.
We’re interested to know what you guys think. Is drifting and doing burnouts in public spaces just a bit of fun? Are the risks are okay to ignore, or do we need to do more to protect ourselves?