Sunday, 20 July 2014

BMW-Mini Driver Almost Delivers Someone's Darwin Award

When you're learning to drive, the idea is to learn not just how to operate a vehicle, but how to use said vehicle as a user of the public road network in a way that isn't hazardous or obstructive to other road users. You know, like a good human being, one responsible enough to propel themselves along at 20-80mph in (usually) a tonne or two of metal, plastic, and maybe some carbon fibre. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that includes parking in such a way as well. The video above contains someone parking in a way Science would call "not well." Almost catastrophically "not well," in fact.

We join the action on the (in)famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is of course both a race track and a public road. Average schmoes pay their fee and tackle The Green Hell at full unlimited speed in whatever vehicle they've used to transport themselves and their GoPro cameras there. As you can see, this is awesome... right up until someone leaves their brain at the toll gate.

From what I can work out by pausing the video to analyse the scene - which the driver of this BMW "Mini" Cooper was presented with on the exit of a flat-out, blind corner - a Suzuki Swift Sport (red) has collided with a motorbike and wound up next to the barrier, on the grass. A BMW E36 Compact and Audi S3 (or rather the occupants thereof) evidently decided to stop and make sure the rider was OK. Perhaps they were right behind when it happened. I haven't been to the 'Ring yet, so I don't know what the etiquette is, but I think people pulling over to ensure the well-being of their fellow petrolheads is a thing that sometimes happens. There is also a marshal waving a yellow flag, as per race track rules, to warn drivers of an incident and that they need to slow down.

Standard procedure then, except that a total lack of basic commonsense has turned "standard procedure" into "serious hazard." The BMW driver just plain stopped on the spot, right in the middle of a race track, just after a blind corner on a fast section of the circuit. What's more, the sole marshal standing right next to the crash scene to warn people of an accident is about as helpful as someone in the park shouting "Watch out!" just as the boomerang hits you in the face.

The only one doing the right thing is the driver we're on board with, who stays calm enough to point his car between the stationary BMW and the people standing around as he stomps on the brakes, whereas I probably would've had a heart attack and ploughed straight into said 3-Series. He draws to a halt on the grass and out of harm's way, as the blue S3 awkwardly wanders off, and gets out to hopefully give everyone involved an earful once he knows the accident victim(s) is/are OK.

All it would've taken for this to be an uninteresting driving-past-a-crash video is even a little bit of situational awareness from the people originally at the crash scene.

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