Bad driving tip #9: expect right-of-way

Do you know the rules for right-of-way? Most racing organizations have similar rules but each has its own specific standards. One good source is National Auto Sport Association. Here’s a link to their current rules. The rules for overtaking start on page 81. They are followed by 12 excellent examples (which not all racing organizations would agree on). Here’s an important excerpt from their rules.

The driver in front has the right to choose any line, as long as they are not considered to be blocking. The driver in front loses the right to choose his or her line when the overtaking driver has their front wheel next to the driver.

Given that statement, watch the following video and try to determine who is at fault.

The driver coming in from the pit is well ahead and turns into the corner well before the POV car. The POV car then punts the incoming car. Whose fault is this? You could blame the incoming driver because it’s not a good idea, and sometimes against the rules to cross the blend line. But this isn’t a universal rule. You could also blame the incoming driver for not leaving enough room for the trailing car. Alternatively, you could say the trailing car had no right to be there because the lead car had already turned in. My guess is that the POV driver had listened carefully at the driver’s meeting earlier in the day where the official said “don’t cross the blend line” and therefore believed he had right-of-way. Sorry, but rules don’t protect your car from damage, you do.

Let’s take a look at another clip. In this one, the POV car gets punted as it turns into T1. Watch the mirror.

Has the car attempting to pass on the inside established its position for a safe pass? Has the POV driver left the other car enough room? Did the POV driver even see the other car? He doesn’t appear to move his head up or right to check his mirrors. Does the driver behind expect he has priority because he’s established position? All of these questions require some interpretation. Fuck interpretation. Take care of your car and keep it out of danger.

If you see a car entering the track from the pits, expect its driver to cross the blend line. If you see a fast car approaching from behind while you’re setting up for a corner, drive a defensive line. That is, set up on the inside of the corner. Taking a large radius (either by taking a racing line or allowing lots of room on the inside) puts you in danger. If they lose control, you want them hitting your rear bumper, not the side of your car.

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