Dangerous Drift: The Rise of Illegal Street Racing in the City
Street racing is not a new phenomenon, but it has become more popular and dangerous in recent years, especially among young drivers who are attracted by the thrill and adrenaline of drifting. Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing the rear wheels to lose traction and slide sideways. It is often performed on public roads, intersections, or parking lots, putting the lives of racers and bystanders at risk.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), street racing-related fatalities increased by 71% from 2000 to 2019, reaching a record high of 602 deaths in 2019. The majority of these deaths were drivers aged 15 to 24, who accounted for 58% of the fatalities. The NHTSA also estimates that street racing causes more than $6 billion in property damage and medical costs annually.
Why do people engage in such a dangerous activity? Some experts say that street racing is influenced by media and culture, such as movies, video games, and social media. These platforms glamorize drifting and street racing as a way of expressing oneself, gaining respect, and having fun. However, they also downplay the consequences and risks involved, such as crashes, injuries, deaths, arrests, fines, and jail time.
Another factor that contributes to street racing is the lack of legal alternatives. Many cities do not have designated tracks or venues where drivers can safely practice drifting or racing. Some drivers argue that they have no choice but to use public roads for their hobby. However, this argument does not justify endangering themselves and others.
What can be done to prevent street racing and drifting? Some possible solutions include increasing law enforcement and penalties, educating drivers and the public about the dangers and costs of street racing, providing legal and safe outlets for drivers to enjoy their passion, and promoting a culture of responsibility and respect for the road and other people.
One of the legal and safe outlets for drivers who want to drift or race is the Amsterdam Drift Club (ADC), a non-profit organization that organizes drifting events and workshops at the Zandvoort Circuit, a professional racing track near the city. The ADC was founded in 2018 by a group of drifting enthusiasts who wanted to share their passion and skills with others, while also promoting safety and respect for the sport.
“We love drifting and we want to make it accessible and enjoyable for everyone who is interested. But we also want to make it clear that drifting is not something you do on the streets. It’s dangerous and illegal. That’s why we have the ADC, where you can learn how to drift properly and safely, with professional instructors and equipment. You can also meet other drifters and have fun together,” said Tom van der Berg, one of the founders and board members of the ADC.
The ADC has about 200 members, ranging from beginners to experts, who pay a monthly fee of â¬50 to join the club and participate in its events. The club also welcomes non-members who want to try drifting for a day, for a fee of â¬100. The club provides cars, tires, helmets, and other gear for the participants, as well as insurance and security. The club also collaborates with local authorities and sponsors to ensure that its events are legal and safe.
“We have a good relationship with the Zandvoort Circuit, the police, and the city council. They support us because they know that we are doing something positive for the community. We are not only providing a service for drifters, but also for the society. We are reducing street racing and drifting, which means less accidents, less noise, less pollution, and less crime. We are also creating jobs and income for the local economy. And we are raising awareness and education about drifting and road safety,” van der Berg said.