When we talk about driver education, the conversation often goes to line, brake release, etc. Even though we say safety is the #1 priority, how often do we talk about it? How often do we demonstrate it? Safety doesn’t just mean having the proper gear in the car or on your person, but the training necessary to deal with bad stuff that happens on a race track. For example, has anyone ever shown you the proper way to use a fire extinguisher? What driving organization teaches people how to put out a car fire? Is it even a good idea to teach that or does that increase your chance of insurance liability? What about first aid? The Motorsports Academy Level 1 course I recently took had zero content on disaster response. When novice drivers go to HPDE events, surely they expect their coaches to know what to do in a crisis. Like any performance activity, we don’t rise to the occasion, we fall back on our training. For many of us, that disaster training is shamefully inadequate.
In the video below, the car catches on fire due to an exhaust leak and dry grass. The car is equipped with a fire extinguisher, but it hardly matters because it isn’t used properly. Also, the car wasn’t shut off, so the fuel pump keeps going. This isn’t a race, so full safety gear was not required. This kind of thing could happen at any track day. Are you prepared? Honestly, I’m not, and this is a wake-up call for me to do some homework on the topic.