“Speed Kills; Safety Saves”
Barreling into the banked corner at the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt the legendary No. 3, smashed head-on into the wall in one of the most tragic crashed in NASCAR history. Earnhardt was killed instantly. Ironically it was the final lap of the race.
In fourth place at the time Earnhardt entered that fateful turn at 180 mph when he grazed the car beside him. Earnhardt’s car swerved sharply to the right and was hit broadside by yet another car, catapulting Earnhardt on into the wall. As horrified fans gasped, the rescue teams sprang into action. But it was too late.
In the aftermath of the accident, a $1 million investigation raised questions but revealed little. Some claimed that Earnhardt’s seatbelt ripped apart in the crash. His head hit either the steering wheel or the support behind the seat and the impact killed him. Others said Earnhardt’s crew didn’t fit the belt properly before the race. Still others insisted that the head-and-neck restraint, which Earnhardt didn’t like to use, would have saved his life.
Whatever the reason, Earnhardt, known as the Intimidator for his aggressive driving style, had reached the end of an illustrious career. No more trophies, no more Winner’s Circle. It remains a tragic loss.
Race car driving is a dangerous game, but so is everyday driving on our nation’s highways if you fail to follow the rules of safe driving.
- Stay alert for road signs. Traffic signs are there for your safety; use them.
- Anticipate changing conditions. Traffic patterns change constantly. Sudden rain, snow or fog could threaten safety within minutes. Expect the unexpected.
- Wear safety belts. It’s not only a good idea, it’s the law.
- Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol and drugs impair judgement and reduce reaction time.
- Beware of big vehicles. Trucks and other large vehicles require greater breaking distance and are more prone to tipovers if turned sharply. Keep that in mind when you’re driving larger vehicles or driving with them on the highways. And always use extra caution around school buses.
- Don’t tailgate. It’s unsafe and discourteous. Drive friendly.
- Allow enough following distance for traffic and road conditions.
- Avoid road rage. Anger has no place behind the wheel. Stay cool, stay safe.
WATCH FOR WARNING SIGNS AND DRIVE SAFELY!
* Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety
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