I believe that automotive racing saves lives. When someone hears the word racing, one may think of many negative connotations. That way of thinking is slowly evolving. I recently took up the sport of autocross, which is the art of timed precision driving, and that has contributed to the way I view automotive racing. Not only has my one year of racing experience changed the way I view the sport, but it has saved my life.
So how hard can racing be? If you ask me, very hard. It might not be as physically demanding as marathon running, but it is both physically and mentally demanding. There are many things to take into consideration when driving: speed, anticipating turns, braking, grip, etc. All of these things run thorough my head for those few minutes where I am zipping my way around the course. Automotive racing is physically demanding because it calls for finesse. Many people are spoiled by automatic transmissions, soft clutches and power steering. Although I am spoiled with power steering, my clutch won’t hesitate to give me leg cramps. Over the past year, my left leg has become stronger, along with my mentality.
So how can automotive racing save a life? I am living proof. I am no stranger to accidents. My first car was totaled. I took up autocross because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to lose another car. It was the night of our senior homecoming game. My friend and I waited for the light to turn green at a quiet intersection. One moment we were talking about the game, and the next thing you know, the length of my car was almost cut in half. My car was rear ended by a drunk driver. In the end, the rear end of my car was completely crushed to where it met the front seats. Fortunately, my friend and I walked away unharmed.
Last semester, I found myself in a similar situation. I was traveling down Interstate 64 in a dense pack of cars then, someone ruined the day for many people. A couple cars ahead, I saw brake lights and a car nose dive. I Anticipated the whole line of cars go from 60 to 0 in a matter of seconds. In a split second, all of my racing experience flashed before my eyes. If I braked, my brakes would have locked up and I would’ve been rear ended, again. I changed lanes but a small dip in the road caused my rear tires to lose traction and my car went into a skid, narrowly missing the car in front of me. As the smoke settled, I found my car facing a line of three cars mangled and fused together. To this day, every time I spin out on a course, I can’t help but to picture those three crushed cars.
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