One thing I noticed from chasing this year is that a lot of the older storm chasers drive much more carefully than the younger chasers. It seemed like it was the college students that were passing me at 20+ mph over the speed limit. As there will always be an influx of young chasers in their 20s who think they're invincible, I don't think this problem will ever go away.
Plus with how really good radar apps are available on phones now, it's really easy to jump into your car with nothing but your cell phone and go chase storms. So the barrier to entry has really gone down in recent years. That means a lot more inexperienced storm chasers who are really excited to see their first tornado, and are probably willing to do anything, even drive dangerously, to see it.
I tend to be extra cautious while driving because I understand that most storm chaser deaths are from driving accidents, not storms. And also because I have my kids with me, and I feel the need to be extra cautious to protect them. Plus, just the fact that I'm getting older means I'm driving a lot more carefully these days.
All of that said, I feel like the people on this forum overall are getting older as many of us have been here for many years, and the younger kids choose to post on TikTok rather than discuss weather in a forum like this. I've also noticed that the number of people posting on this forum has dropped considerably over the past 10 years. I hope we're not becoming a group of old farts that just sits around complaining about everything!
I'm not perfect, I've made my share of mistakes and poor decisions out there, and I was younger and dumber once. However, I was never even close to the recklessness and disrespect people are practicing, and even celebrating on their social media today.
I too notice the majority of imbecilic and selfish driving and behavior is from people below 40 or maybe even 30, but regardless of age are the same people who behave like fools in public and on social media; this seems to always go hand in hand with their bad driving. There is a large swath of immature and damaged people who associate with this hobby, and I've observed quite a few who display signs of mental health issues. When that part of the circus shows up, it feels a lot like an out of control biker gang on a power trip. Roar into town unsafely, treat local roads and businesses as their private playground, try to shake everyone up and assert themselves as somehow important. Most rational people just see it for what it is, dumb group think and a focus on adolescent behavior by people with problems and loose morals. I see the same types gathering like hyenas or a high school clique at gas stations and restaraunts and being loud or obnoxious everywhere they go. Honking, blocking roads or doors to businesses, screaming at people for no reason, blowing trumpets, hanging out of windows, tailgating when there is nowhere to go, etc. This problem crowd seems to have a knowledge of forecasting and field experience with severe weather that varies from clueless to a few quite experienced and yet still very dangerous leaders of the fools. Most of the time they are out of position and seem to have no instincts on if a storm is strengthening or weakening, etc, and chase warnings, bright colors on radar, and other chaser dots, justifying in their minds they need to speed everywhere they go.
After what I have seen in the last three years, I think 2022 was probably my last year out on a long trip to the central/southern plains. In many seasons of doing this hobby, things have just gotten gradually less pleasant in terms of setups themselves, the costs and time involved, etc. Especially in the central and southern plains, I cannot seem to get to a nice view of a storm without some jerk driving dangerously by honking (I am always safely pulled off the road or driving fairly reasonably and not super slow either). Or I'll be well positioned and ten minutes later a huge line of angry chasers shows up and congests the area into something dangerous and unpleasant. That is the real killer for me, beyond even cost and storm scarcity; the experience is being tainted. I hate to be such a grouch and downer, but I don't see how this changes since the voice of reason is often the last voice anyone wants to hear anymore.
The only answer I have for saving the experience I enjoy, is to back off and focus even more on structure and lightning than I already was, and limit my chase radius even further. Favor secondary targets, etc.
Be safe out there everyone. Even doing your best to avoid it, the mob shows up more often than not now, and things get dangerous or frustrating.