Thursday, February 23, 2017

When it comes to safety, even the pros stay on track

“Drivers start your engines!”

These four words will signal the start of NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl, The Daytona 500, on Sunday. And at least 43 engines will roar to life as fans both in the stands and at home cheer their favorite driver on.

While these high-tech racing machines are built for entertainment, NASCAR drivers don’t take safety lightly. In fact, anyone who has ever climbed into a regular vehicle can learn a lot from these athletes. Here are a few tips on how staying safe during a NASCAR event compares to everyday driving.

Before drivers even start their engines, they are strapped in to their seats with their safety harnesses. 
Although the safety belt system in a race car is a bit different from a normal vehicle’s seat belts, you won’t see a NASCAR driver go around the race track without it. The safety restraint in a NASCAR vehicle is actually a five-point harness that is designed to help keep the driver in their seat and slow down with the car at the same time. Do what the pros do. It is important to buckle up every trip, every lap and every time.

Driving a race car requires total concentration. 
Contrary to popular belief, those are real athletes inside a race car. Being a good athlete requires total focus.  Every lap counts and at times, NASCAR events have lasted more than six hours. If a driver were to get distracted, the consequences could be life-threatening and costly. 

When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, try to treat each trip as important as a NASCAR driver would during a race. Checking text messages or changing the radio station at the wrong moment puts your life and others at risk. Focus on driving and avoid all distractions.

Race cars need to be ready for long-haul. 
Some races require drivers to race around the track for more than 500 miles. That’s farther than a road trip across Kansas. During these long events, cars could be exceeding 220 miles per hour. That puts a lot of pressure on these racing machines. NASCAR teams have to understand what the mileage does to the important components of their vehicle such as the engine or tires. In fact, the tires are checked and changed regularly during an event to avoid devastating losses should one of the tires blow during high speeds. 

While teams do their best, it is inevitable that something could malfunction at any time during the course of the race. The same could be said for anyone who takes a road trip to a fun vacation spot, or just down the road to Grandma’s. Anything can happen and the best way to be prepared is to ensure that your car is up-to-date on fluid changes, tire rotation and checkups.

There are plenty of other lessons that can be learned from watching professional racing. But if you follow these tips, you could be well on your way to the winner’s circle.
What are some other tips that you have seen while watching auto racing? Let us know in the comments! 

For more racing fun, check out this Throwback Thursday video when Kansas native, Clint Bowyer gave a PSA for S.A.F.E. in 2014. 

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