Lawsuit proceeding against The Weather Channel due to fatal car accident

Sep 25, 2006
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Minneapolis, MN
I'll agree to the point of having chasers documenting weather, but I'll disagree with the using it to make money part. That's the crux of this whole thread...if money/followers was not an option, these kind of risks would not necessarily be taken.
I think you're right that money has something to do with bad driving habits, but I think there are plenty of other chasers who don't chase for money who also drive like idiots. I don't think this kind of behavior is specific to just media chasers. The fear of missing out makes people do stupid things too.
 
Sep 7, 2013
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Strasburg, CO
I think you're right that money has something to do with bad driving habits, but I think there are plenty of other chasers who don't chase for money who also drive like idiots. I don't think this kind of behavior is specific to just media chasers. The fear of missing out makes people do stupid things too.
On this I agree entirely.

This is precisely why I take the road less traveled when it comes to chasing. I could get close and deal with idiots, or move one road away and have the whole show to myself, albeit smaller scale.
 
Sep 7, 2013
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Strasburg, CO
I believe that at least some of this behavior is a manifestation of a certain facet of the hobby becoming financially competitive in order to get the best live stream shot or get the best breaking video sale before the competition does. When people are financially driven in this manner, it tends to exacerbate poor behavior such as flagrant traffic violations to get in position and get "the shot." There's nothing wrong with streaming, and I don't even see any harm in selling quality video. I've done both.

I think all of the sales aspects of chasing have to be done commensurate with the fact that we are part of a society-at-large, so getting "the shot" or earning a prestigious financial compensation for having the best shot and getting it on CNN, for example, before anyone else gets it, shouldn't take precedence over your own safety or the safety of others in or near the roadways. Of course, there are also people who drive recklessly while chasing who are not involving in streaming or selling video either. In short, it's probably competitiveness in general that is the root of some of the problem. It's not a tacit justification that blowing stop signs or driving 30 mph over the posted limit is okay; I think we have to be cognizant that competition, particularly for selling streams or videos, is contributing to what was already an ongoing problem as more people get into the hobby in the first place. I always try to be mindful of the fact that we share public right-of-ways with others, and operating an automobile is a serious endeavor that has safety implications when done improperly or recklessly.
I don't think it's really financially driven anymore...its about followers and likes, which can be monetized, but likely it just a product of one-upsmanship for some random reason. I don't get it.
 
Jun 18, 2017
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Tennessee
Money, attention, followers... among several possible reasons some chasers drive like idiots. That doesn’t help the image of chasing community much, and idiots, whatever the reasons are, are embarrassment to chasing communities. My personal reasons for joining the chase were just to experience something new and see gorgeous sups that I don’t normally see in TN. I respect those who take pictures for commissions as long as they do it safe and smart. It’s their passion, pretty much like artists. Driving like an idiot to get the shot to gain followers/$$/attention is pretty much on the same level in some ways as... drawing really inappropriate human version of Hurricane Irma (trying not to violate ST policy here but I almost bleached my eyes when I accidentally come across the drawing while looking at memes). I love art and photography, but moronic driving and X-rated Irma drawing were just total lack of respect for people overall (victims, chasers/artists/photographers, etc). I honestly love to see beautiful sups, but moronic driving isn’t the way to go.
 
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Jun 1, 2008
423
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
How to avoid a lawsuit..

1. Forecast well so you don't have to rush to target.

2. Leave early and enjoy a nice relaxing sit-down lunch near the target.

3. Know Plan B in case first target does not work. Probably another boundary intersection.

4. Have eyes on the road for defensive driving. Chase partner is critical for safety.

5. Hang back from the drama. You'll enjoy structure and 98% of the thrill. Unlike an eclipse, you don't have to be right up on it.

6. Hang back for safety, structure, and supper. First off storm, first seated for steak and ice cream!
 
Mar 31, 2019
11
4
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Lansing, Michigan
How to avoid a lawsuit..

1. Forecast well so you don't have to rush to target.

2. Leave early and enjoy a nice relaxing sit-down lunch near the target.

3. Know Plan B in case first target does not work. Probably another boundary intersection.

4. Have eyes on the road for defensive driving. Chase partner is critical for safety.

5. Hang back from the drama. You'll enjoy structure and 98% of the thrill. Unlike an eclipse, you don't have to be right up on it.

6. Hang back for safety, structure, and supper. First off storm, first seated for steak and ice cream!
My thoughts exactly! I'd rather give up the best shots instead of making myself another statistic trying to get it.
 
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Jun 1, 2008
423
282
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
My thoughts exactly! I'd rather give up the best shots instead of making myself another statistic trying to get it.
Yes I agree. We saw all the DDC cycles in 2016 but from far away. Sometimes I regret not getting closer. Actually I used to get closer back in the day. Harper 2004 comes to mind. However I've seen few shots of structure for DDC. We have this amazing mid-level flow and it worked out. Never encountered a road block and were able to navigate to the Airport for that last cycle or two.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
I don’t want to go off on too much of a tangent, but I agree about keeping a distance to favor structure and avoid the masses. Rare days like DDC are nice to get close, since it was relatively easy and safe to do so, but it wasn’t long before the traffic bottled up. Trying to get close to Pilger was a pain with so much traffic congestion on the main road. Kudos to those who were already close in the first place and didn’t have to fight for a good shot.

Too many times I recall a rain-wrapped storm with most rushing to get directly underneath the core/meso/etc. If visibility is low, odds of seeing something photogenic are already low, plus the potential for an accident to happen with hoards of chasers on wet roads with limited sight distance increases dramatically. I’d favor taking a step back, seeing if there’s some wider angle photo opportunity and perhaps bailing for a tail end Charlie or an otherwise less followed, but low risk, high reward situation. That very thing happened in Winona, KS a few years back when I saw a nighttime tornado that very few chasers saw, due to a line of storms farther north.

There’s also something about being able to get pictures/video of storms that aren’t cluttered with tons of vehicles in the foreground. The road less traveled it is for me, not always, but as often as possible.

Ironically, I’ve had more driving issues with animals (deer) than actual chasers, but I’ve certainly had a few close calls due to wreckless behavior by others. I feel like I’m a very cautious driver and I try to keep my distance, especially at higher speeds and/or when roads are wet or icy.

Since this tragic incident, I am borderline paranoid at rural intersections and will often look both ways multiple times. Even if there’s no stop sign, if the view is obscured by something, whether it’s a tree, bush or something else, I may slow down or stop anyway.
 
Fortunately, the recent lack of storm activity has reduced the potential of chase-related accidents. Once the active pattern returns (which will eventually happen), things will get back to normal. In fact, things may pick up within the Looney Tunes division as chasers try to make up for lost time or excited newbies / locals are unleashed. Throw in a multi-storm, high risk day outside Wichita or Oklahoma City and see what happens. :eek:
 
Oct 31, 2013
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Eastern TX Panhandle
I think I can speak for Warren as I've chased with him the last 8 years. We stay out of the higher risk areas and go to secondary targets a lot to stay away from the masses. I love chasing Marginal or SLGT RISK days over MOD and HIGH RISK days. Less stress, less traffic, and just less bullshit altogether. Campo, CO and Hammon, OK type days are my perfect type of chase day.
 
Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
Interesting that Warren groups Wichita with OKC. You all think it's that bad out of ICT now? Probably, lol, but my friends are there.

Hanging back is one way to still chase the primary target (best odds). We only saw 1-2 other vehicles at a time in my above DDC chase. Saw more near the Airport, but not much. We could/should have gotten closer, but I think even half the distance would not be too crowded. These days the herd is right up on it.
 
Interesting that Warren groups Wichita with OKC. You all think it's that bad out of ICT now? Probably, lol, but my friends are there.

Hanging back is one way to still chase the primary target (best odds). We only saw 1-2 other vehicles at a time in my above DDC chase. Saw more near the Airport, but not much. We could/should have gotten closer, but I think even half the distance would not be too crowded. These days the herd is right up on it.
The last time I chased a major event **near** ICT, it was quite nuts. (April 12, 2013 outbreak). Not quite as insane as OKC, but it drew a lot of local traffic. It was worth the traffic insanity (see picture) but after dark the traffic jams were kind of unnerving as the storms moved towards ICT so we bailed. This was the same day Woodward was hit, killing 6.

April 12 tornado.jpg
 
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Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
2,922
1,357
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Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
The last time I chased a major event **near** ICT, it was quite nuts. (April 12, 2013 outbreak). Not quite as insane as OKC, but it drew a lot of local traffic. It was worth the traffic insanity (see picture) but after dark the traffic jams were kind of unnerving as the storms moved towards ICT so we bailed. This was the same day Woodward was hit, killing 6.
I think you're referring to 14 April 2012. There was no outbreak on 12 April 2013. And the 2012 event was pretty crazy up along the KS-OK border.
 
Since this tragic incident, I am borderline paranoid at rural intersections and will often look both ways multiple times. Even if there’s no stop sign, if the view is obscured by something, whether it’s a tree, bush or something else, I may slow down or stop anyway.
This is something I learned many years ago growing up in rural Oklahoma. If you can't see clearly, it's better to stop anyway. Even when there isn't a cloud in the sky, many of the locals blow right on through as well. It's not just chasers you have to worry about on those rural intersections with no form of traffic control. Not by a long shot. It's something I've always been very cognizant of since I started driving in general, which carried over to when I started chasing nearly a decade and a half ago.
 

Jack Fleetwood

Enthusiast
Mar 29, 2017
4
1
6
Austin, TX
I'll agree to the point of having chasers documenting weather, but I'll disagree with the using it to make money part. That's the crux of this whole thread...if money/followers was not an option, these kind of risks would not necessarily be taken.
In the case of these guys I don't think it was finances that motivated them, at least in the beginning. Maybe I'm wrong, but they were chasing long before they were hired by TWC. They were hired because people liked watching them. They were entertaining and of all the chasers broadcasting live, they always seemed to get on the storm. Two things TWC wanted... followers and storm footage live.
 
Sep 7, 2013
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Strasburg, CO
In the case of these guys I don't think it was finances that motivated them, at least in the beginning. Maybe I'm wrong, but they were chasing long before they were hired by TWC. They were hired because people liked watching them. They were entertaining and of all the chasers broadcasting live, they always seemed to get on the storm. Two things TWC wanted... followers and storm footage live.
Right, but if they were chasing for fun, would they have taken these kinds of risks? Some do, thats for sure. Ive had close calls with daredevils (dickheads)...thus i steer clear.

All that being said, the most teetotaling chaser can still crash on the way home, be it fatigue, wildlife, drunks or cellphone users.

Just be careful everyone. Live for another season. If you have a deathwish..try not to take anyone else with you.
 
Mar 8, 2016
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Bloomington, IL
This is something I learned many years ago growing up in rural Oklahoma. If you can't see clearly, it's better to stop anyway. Even when there isn't a cloud in the sky, many of the locals blow right on through as well. It's not just chasers you have to worry about on those rural intersections with no form of traffic control. Not by a long shot. It's something I've always been very cognizant of since I started driving in general, which carried over to when I started chasing nearly a decade and a half ago.
Yeah, being someone who works in rural Illinois I have to deal with it quite a bit once the corn starts going up in the summertime. As such it has carried over to chasing for me as well.
 

Gavin Groth

Enthusiast
May 2, 2018
8
3
0
Wausau WI
This is not unexpected though I am surprised it has taken this long.

$125 million lawsuit against Weather Channel in Lubbock for deadly crash
This is typical for profit BS from The Weather Company. I really don't think that they honestly care about keeping people safe and I'm sure the employees that work for them are very nice, but I have never liked the direction that The Weather Company has headed. The truth is all of these nation and worldwide companies don't have the empathy for the local people that a local TV station might have. All the company cares about is getting the shots, getting views, and making money. That's not the only problem I have with them, they are also huge drama-queens, they name practically every storm system as if its a once in a lifetime event.