Reckless Driving?

MatthewCarman

I read only part of your post Micheal and reported it without seeing the virtual part. I saw the first part and thought the whole post was going to be like that. I apologize. I had a brain fart.

Mods please understand it was a mistake.
 
Damnit Matt! I've already got two infractions in the last week now they're probably going to ban me permanently. No, that's cool. I started thinking about that post on the way home from work and I realized everybody else probably wasn't as big of a fan of David's virtual chases as I am and they might think I was serious.
 
/!\MOD NOTE/!\ I see no reason as to why this thread was dug up. I am not going to comment on the 4/22/10 event on here and will stay neutral. Given recent events I would appreciate it if my name was kept out of any borderline discussions from now on. I am going to lock this thread now and talk with the other moderators regarding as to if any other moderation of this thread is required and if it should be unlocked. Please use common sence when bumping old threads. People's thoughts and opinions can change from time to time and commenting on how someone thought 3 years ago is silly. This post should have been allowed to have stayed dead.
 

Stormtrack Moderator Team

Due to the deletion of the post that all other new posts that were commenting on the deleted post have been removed. Any further discussion of any deleted posts in this thread will result in an infraction.
 
Oct 26, 2007
231
93
11
Topeka, Kansas
This may not be the correct place for this post, so please move if so. There was a thread on this awhile back. I am going to start calling out chasers and posting vehicles with their license plates on here and Facebook, for tailgating at 65-70 mph. This happened to me four times yesterday, one of which I know were chasers. The others may have been local yahoos who do it all the time. They occurred on 2 lane highways. I am not a slow driver. I speed myself, but I happen to know personally what it is like to hydroplane and spin out at 60 mph. Maybe these people are ignorant of the laws about driving behind another vehicle, especially on wet pavement. But if you can't stay behind me, (and I was going 3-4 mile above the speed limit), then pass or back off. I experienced this several years ago during the McCook, Neb. tornado, and he was a veteran chaser. I recognized his vehicle. I also have a plain vehicle and don't have any signs that say---look at me! I am a storm chaser!
 

Jeff House

Supporter
Jun 1, 2008
643
748
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
Thanks for bumping. No reason to ever break traffic laws. A good forecast solves all that. We usually enjoy a leisurely sit-down lunch before chase mode is fully activated. Relax and look at data. Deliberate carefully. Drive within the laws. Nowcast right. No problem!

1. I was disappointed the Central Plains season may wind down. Then I read about the driving, and figure I'd rather find other pastures.

2. Chase partner should be considered mandatory. Don't need to be weather knowledgeable, just interested enough to go. Second set of eyes improves driving safety. Also nice if they can drive while you forecast and navigate.

3. I'm looking to Hoosier Alley for less crowded chasing. High Plains and Upper Midwest are other options, but even farther than ICT. Midwest is closer.

4. The South terrain may be awful, but I chase it more early season. Few other chasers improves safety, even with the bad visibility.

5. Shame to give up on the hobby in the Central Plains, but safety has become a real issue. Too many newbies drive solo. Guess I'll take the shift to Dixie / Hoosier. Perhaps my career took me to the right place, haha!
 
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Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
277
159
11
Twin Falls, ID
Thanks for bumping. No reason to ever break traffic laws. A good forecast solves all that. We usually enjoy a leisurely sit-down lunch before chase mode is fully activated. Relax and look at data. Deliberate carefully. Drive within the laws. Nowcast right. No problem!

1. I was disappointed the Central Plains season may wind down. Then I read about the driving, and figure I'd rather find other pastures.

2. Chase partner should be considered mandatory. Don't need to be weather knowledgeable, just interested enough to go. Second set of eyes improves driving safety. Also nice if they can drive while you forecast and navigate.

3. I'm looking to Hoosier Alley for less crowded chasing. High Plains and Upper Midwest are other options, but even farther than ICT. Midwest is closer.

4. The South terrain may be awful, but I chase it more early season. Few other chasers improves safety, even with the bad visibility.

5. Shame to give up on the hobby in the Central Plains, but safety has become a real issue. Too many newbies drive solo. Guess I'll take the shift to Dixie / Hoosier. Perhaps my career took me to the right place, haha!
I grew up and subsequently started chasing in Indiana, and I hardly ever encountered other chasers there. Mostly spotters, or just one or two other chase vehicles. It's been 7 years since I last chased there, so that may have changed. The storms aren't as pretty there, but it is a more peaceful chase, for sure. I may just start pushing my chasecation out to June for the northern plains. Still lots of chasers, but I'd say the majority opt for some time in May, as well as the greater population density in the southern Plains means more local/regional chasers out, especially on the weekends. When I do deal with chaser convergence, I just try to stay ahead of the convoy. It means I'm usually way out in front of the storm, further from the meso, but often worth it to avoid the chaser circus.
 

Todd Lemery

Staff member
Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
743
804
21
57
Menominee, MI
Most of us have accidentally cut off another driver, been speeding, drove distracted etc….The one thing I’ve tried to remind myself of over the years is to not drive like an a**hole. It’s been a hard process because I generally have a lead foot. My driving like an idiot usually started before the storms had even formed. I always liked getting on a storm early and watching it mature. The problems for me usually started when more and more chasers latched onto the same storm and positioning gradually became more “competitive “. The more upset I’d get with other people driving like idiots somehow got me to try to beat them at being an idiot. I’d be unhappy and I’m pretty sure everyone around me was too.
Staying ahead of the storm until it looks ready to produce and not using secondary roads much to stay in position helps. I’m sure everyone knows the frustration of being stuck behind someone on a one lane road that’s crawling along as the storm is moving to warp speed. It’s frustrating, but not the end of the world. Sometimes it’s just better to wave goodbye to a storm than drive like an a**hole trying to keep up. No storm is worth sitting in a crumpled car waiting for help to arrive. I think I’ve finally figured out that part. I’m just glad I never had to learn the hard way!
 

Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
Staff member
Supporter
Oct 7, 2008
3,535
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Denver, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
By all means, Rick. Please do post that info! We have the right to enforce high standards of driving and behavior in this community.

Warren isn't wrong in saying that doing this is going to make the problem go away. But not doing it is worse IMO, as it would imply that this behavior is condoned or accepted by many in the storm chasing community.
 

Warren Faidley

Supporter
May 7, 2006
2,058
2,262
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Mos Isley Space Port
www.stormchaser.com
People need to STOP parking and / or stopping in active roadways. Had this problem last Monday near Morton. One of the stopped vehicles decided to make a sudden left turn. Could have easily been a fatal accident, especially with the third vehicle waving people around. What the hell is wrong with people? The speed limit in Texas is 75mph. There is no room for error -- this is not the Walmart parking lot.
 

Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
Staff member
Supporter
Oct 7, 2008
3,535
2,585
21
Denver, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
People need to STOP parking and / or stopping in active roadways. Had this problem last Monday near Morton. One of the stopped vehicles decided to make a sudden left turn. Could have easily been a fatal accident, especially with the third vehicle waving people around. What the hell is wrong with people? The speed limit in Texas is 75mph. There is no room for error.
I mean, that's just flat-out illegal on top of being dangerous (and annoying, the lowest priority on this list). I'd take video or pictures and consider submitting to law enforcement. Frankly I'm surprised that action hasn't already caused a major accident with injuries/fatalities among chasers before.
 
Mar 5, 2010
338
60
11
Cascade, CO
Call me pessimistic but the reality is that the storm chasing community will only get into an uproar when the bad driver is someone they dont collectively like. It is no way objective across the board. That is the part that has turned me off to all of it. Someone like Stas drives like a maniac and everyone blasts him every chance they get but that same community wont call out their favorites who drive just as reckless. Until its objective and uniform there is no point. Again, just me being a little pessimistic today. Forgive me :)
 
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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!
 
Jul 5, 2009
1,367
1,434
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
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!
Younger drivers being more aggressive is universal, not just in chasing - that’s why insurance rates are so high for drivers under 25 - so it’s not surprising that you would notice it more in the younger chasers. I confess to having been a much more aggressive driver with a lead foot when younger, but not so much anymore…

On a related note, chasers are equally reckless when out of their cars, wandering across major roads as if they haven’t a care in the world, while visibility is obscured by low light and blowing dust. I may get heat for saying this, but anyone that does this, recognizing the conditions and knowing that other chasers may be driving distractedly, is at least 50% at fault for any tragic incident, if not more…

OT but your point on ST participation is something that really bothers me and I wish we could do something about it. As you noted, the younger chasers are not here, but neither are the older, original veterans, guys like @David Hoadley , Tim Marshall, Gene Rhoden, Bobby Prentice, Jack Corso, etc. Many of them went to Facebook. The only one from that ”generation” still on ST (speaking in terms of chase career stage, not necessarily biological age) is probably @Warren Faidley . I guess we here on ST are largely some sort of ”mid-career” group. In any event, I would love to see us expand our community and become the one and only true gathering place for storm chaser and severe weather enthusiasts… Social media is simply not the right medium. ST is ideal for curated, long-form content. Social media in general is beginning to trend away from mass, mainstream platforms toward niche applications for specific communities, and ST is already positioned as that application for storm chasing. All of the content on these other mediums is not curated or easily searchable, comes at you in streams of unrelated information, and could be at risk of disappearing forever (although there are plenty of orphan links and lost images here on ST too…)
 

Dave C

EF2
Jun 5, 2013
151
251
11
Denver
www.davidcrowlphotography.com
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!
[rant]

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.

[/rant]
 
Jul 5, 2009
1,367
1,434
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
I honestly didn’t see anything too bad this year… The main thing I noticed was more that people aren’t careful about standing on, or crossing, the road, as I posted above... Maybe it’s because there really was no “big day” this year, except Memorial Day, when I stayed on the secondary (or tertiary?) KS target… Morton was fine, there was volume but I didn’t see anything crazy. Certainly understand the negative impact on the experience, but personally can’t imagine settling for secondary targets or far out structure every time… The exhilaration of seeing a tornado descend at a close but safe distance is too much to give up. Yeah if I was a local chaser I would enjoy that type of chase once a week or so, just getting out there to enjoy nature, like someone might visit the woods, lake or ocean on the weekend… But on a chase vacation, doing that say 10 times in a two week period, would probably bore me, if I’m being honest…

It has been more than a decade, maybe more than two decades, since chasing was a solitary activory… I guess I’m just used to it now… Whether it is actually getting worse is subjective… Yeah there may be more nuts and yahoos out there, but still not to the point where they are encountered in a majority of chases… The incidents are still relatively few and random, at least in my experience, unless it’s just a byproduct of my own lack of aggressiveness (or ineptitude?) to get “in the notch” most of the time.
 
Aug 12, 2020
19
14
1
Waverly, TN
I mean, that's just flat-out illegal on top of being dangerous (and annoying, the lowest priority on this list). I'd take video or pictures and consider submitting to law enforcement. Frankly I'm surprised that action hasn't already caused a major accident with injuries/fatalities among chasers before.
Unfortunately reporting this to law enforcement will not do you much good. The officer would have to witness the traffic violation in his presence. Even watching video would be a minor traffic violation that did not occur in our presence. It would be completely up to the party who was cut off or caused to run off the road to pursue any type of charges through the court system on their own. You would be much better off blasting them on here and calling them out. Especially if they are a member and can see it done. And I can tell you from 10 years of experience being law enforcement, a 911 call about a reckless driver is the first one to be looked over and not responded to. “Unless there are multiple different complainants or the officer is close enough to actually see a traffic violation”
As far as blocking the road, that is obviously impeding traffic, which is a violation. But what are the chances an officer will be close enough to be there before they move. Especially in the rural areas where there isn’t an officer within 45 minutes.
 
Aug 12, 2020
19
14
1
Waverly, TN
Of course there are exigent circumstances in which we could do something, Ex. Driving Under the Influence, they would obviously be making more traffic violations and would be stopped and arrested….
But from my understanding we are simply talking about reckless chasing. And I would fear that consistent calls about reckless drivers who end up being chasers would result in strict/stricter enforcement between officers and chasers. And after multiple times it would take a normal/careful chaser to foul up on accident and the tickets would start flowing like crazy. Again just my professional and personal opinion. I usually don’t throw my 2 cents out there but this is part of my job.
 
Mar 26, 2022
73
39
6
Saratoga county NY
Unfortunately reporting this to law enforcement will not do you much good. The officer would have to witness the traffic violation in his presence. Even watching video would be a minor traffic violation that did not occur in our presence. It would be completely up to the party who was cut off or caused to run off the road to pursue any type of charges through the court system on their own. You would be much better off blasting them on here and calling them out. Especially if they are a member and can see it done. And I can tell you from 10 years of experience being law enforcement, a 911 call about a reckless driver is the first one to be looked over and not responded to. “Unless there are multiple different complainants or the officer is close enough to actually see a traffic violation”
As far as blocking the road, that is obviously impeding traffic, which is a violation. But what are the chances an officer will be close enough to be there before they move. Especially in the rural areas where there isn’t an officer within 45 minutes.
This brings up a question I have had for a while, what driving is "bad enough" to call 911? I would never call 911 just cause someone cut me off or stopped in the road, but what about the car weaving through interstate traffic at 100 mph? or the topheavy van with way too much wood strapped to the roof and uneaven suspension making it look like it is about to flip? or the car weaving between the wrogn lane and shoulder repeatedly as if intoxicated? I've seen these all and was not sure what to do about any of them

I should clarify that these were not chasers, I have never seen another chaser in the field where I am, but it is relevent to chasing since I drive alot as a chaser so I see a lot of general driving stupidity
 
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Aug 12, 2020
19
14
1
Waverly, TN
This brings up a question I have had for a while, what driving is "bad enough" to call 911? I would never call 911 just cause someone cut me off or stopped in the road, but what about the car weaving through interstate traffic at 100 mph? or the topheavy van with way too much wood strapped to the roof and uneaven suspension making it look like it is about to flip? or the car weaving between the wrogn lane and shoulder repeatedly as if intoxicated? I've seen these all and was not sure what to do about any of them

I should clarify that these were not chasers, I have never seen another chaser in the field where I am, but it is relevent to chasing since I drive alot as a chaser so I see a lot of general driving stupidity
Fair enough, that’s a good question. Reckless driving and weaving in and out of traffic would be a good reason to call, the only problem is catching up to these people. Usually how that would work is you call us with the description and direction of travel. And if someone isnt in the area we notify the next jurisdiction they would be heading towards. Because being honest. If you’re running 100 that means I have to run 120-140 to catch up. As far as over loads, here those are usually things that are enforced by the Highway Patrol / State Police, whatever they may be called in your area. These are definitely a thing. As far as swerving, I’d say 90% is on the phone, watch their actions, DUIs will do more than swerve, speed up/slowdown just to speed up/ slowdown again. Usually slowly ver to the shoulder with an approaching car rather than someone on their phone looking up and snatching the wheel. Remember DUI reactions are slower than normal drivers. Also a great reason to call in.

I would say as far as reckless driving goes, make the call only over egregious acts. And for this scenario I would define egregious and anything utterly shocking. Not just what’s makes you call them an idiot or scream through your windshield like we all do from time to time lol

Again, this is just my opinion.
 
Mar 26, 2022
73
39
6
Saratoga county NY
Fair enough, that’s a good question. Reckless driving and weaving in and out of traffic would be a good reason to call, the only problem is catching up to these people. Usually how that would work is you call us with the description and direction of travel. And if someone isnt in the area we notify the next jurisdiction they would be heading towards. Because being honest. If you’re running 100 that means I have to run 120-140 to catch up. As far as over loads, here those are usually things that are enforced by the Highway Patrol / State Police, whatever they may be called in your area. These are definitely a thing. As far as swerving, I’d say 90% is on the phone, watch their actions, DUIs will do more than swerve, speed up/slowdown just to speed up/ slowdown again. Usually slowly ver to the shoulder with an approaching car rather than someone on their phone looking up and snatching the wheel. Remember DUI reactions are slower than normal drivers. Also a great reason to call in.

I would say as far as reckless driving goes, make the call only over egregious acts. And for this scenario I would define egregious and anything utterly shocking. Not just what’s makes you call them an idiot or scream through your windshield like we all do from time to time lol

Again, this is just my opinion.
Around here they only place you see people doing 100 is the interstate, where there are plenty of state police, so I would think they could just radio ahead to the next state trooper