Chase behavior on the road

Jon Gacke

After following the magnificent evolution of the Beatrice TN, I was heading NE to try and keep up with the storm. In the process, I was passed by a vehicle that had something like Extreme Chase Team, or some such ilk written across the side, complete with pulsing/flashing emergency lights. This was no official emergency vehicle from my perspective although the people its driver tailgated and almost forced off the road thought it was. The driver essentially bullied his way around the other cars on the road. The locals of course, responding to what they were thinking was an emergency vehicle, pulled over quickly to let it pass. From my perspective, this is giving chasers exactly the kind of attention I (we?) don't want or need. It appears to me that some people are so lacking in self-esteem that this is the only way they can feel important. To me it just looks foolish and endangers you, me and everyone else on the road, not to mention the detrimental long-term effect of public opinion of chasers.
My view? Come on guys - knock it off!
Maybe it's just me, or does anyone else have an opinion about this?
 
I'm in agreement with you, there's been plenty of times when I've had chasers blow by me at 80+ MPH. They tailgate the cars in front of them, weave in and out of traffic.

It makes us look bad, especially when it's obvious that you are a storm chaser.
 
I agree. Anytime a chaser, spotter, or anyone else, is driving unsafely, or creating a danger to either themselves or the public, dialing 911 is the first thing you should do. If they've got lights and they're "acting" like cops when they aren't, absolutely dial 911 and report them immediately. Also, if you videotape the violator, give the tape to the cops, that way they won't just walk away. Do them, the public, and all legitimate, self-respecting chasers and spotters a favor, and help the cops get these people off the streets. That's the best way to prevent the public image of storm chasing from being tarnished, and keep the lawmakers from trying to ban chasing altogether.

Damon Poole


Personally, I'd just pick up the phone and start calling 911 to report a police impersonator. Cops don't like impersonators. Give them a license plate (or just describe the vehicle, they prolly have a pretty good idea) and turn 'em loose.
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No Jim, it's not just you that wishes they'd knock it off. You bring up a very valid concern to the chase community and it takes guts to do so.

I strongly suspect that whomever you are talking about has either read or been notified of this topic. It would be interesting to see them have the guts to come out in public (since they're so into aggressively announcing their presence to the world). Maybe they could share with us just what it is they are hoping to accomplish and what benefit they provide.

Not holding my breath on that one...
 
I agree. Anytime a chaser, spotter, or anyone else, is driving unsafely, or creating a danger to either themselves or the public, dialing 911 is the first thing you should do. If they've got lights and they're "acting" like cops when they aren't, absolutely dial 911 and report them immediately. Also, if you videotape the violator, give the tape to the cops, that way they won't just walk away. Do them, the public, and all legitimate, self-respecting chasers and spotters a favor, and help the cops get these people off the streets. That's the best way to prevent the public image of storm chasing from being tarnished, and keep the lawmakers from trying to ban chasing altogether.

Damon Poole
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I couldn't have said it better myself. The best way for everyone on the road to have a good chasing experience is to do so with a courteous approach. As I've stated before, the reckless drivers pose a far greater danger to life than the storms, IMHO.

We have to look after ourselves, and any time there's a non-confrontational way to weed out the rotten apples (IE: video evidence) we should take advantage of it. Let's keep chasing a legal pasttime.

John
VE4 JTH
 
Yep, Yep, Yep... good posts all, and an important point about policing our own community. We are most responsible for enforcing good behavior and the reckless and endangering behavior of some is a concern for us all. It's one thing to decide to risk yourself with a tornado; another entirely to put uninvolved locals at risk via dangerous driving, and emergency impersonation is frankly appalling. Ends such as a successful tornado catch do not justify these means. I completely support handing over dangerous chasers to the police.
 
We had the same problem here in the heartland of IL, which I think most would agree is generally not the storm chasing capital of the midwest. The IL State Police started asking that reminders be passed on about this behavior at local ham radio/SKYWARN meetings and some spotter training sessions. Unfortunately, this behavior has tarnished chasers image in the minds of some LEO's, but that respect can be restored if chasers drive senisbly and everything else that has been mentioned above.

Ironically, in my area it was generally localized spotters, NOT chasers who were more often "wanna-being" it with the lights and whirly gigs and driving like psychos. Some of the other chasers I encountered were generally more professional and easier to talk with than some of the spotters, but I'm sure both are guilty.

Just my cents.
 
I ran into this on the Beatrice storm on 041506 on a gravel road. I got behind a car loaded with chasers that was going fairly slow and I wanted to pass myself but did not feel that the roads were safe enough to do so. A couple of other chase vehicles quickly approached from behind and they both quickly passed the both of us. A few miles up the road a police truck approached us going the other direction and he was trying to tell everyone to slow down. He quickly turned around and went after the 2 vehicles that had previously passed us. I did not see if he actually pulled them over as they went a different direction than myself and the slow car ahead of me. But on the flip side, I found it very aggravating that I could not get around the car ahead of me, although I did manage to pass him several miles ahead.
 
If anyone drives recklessly, chaser or not, they should be reported with as much specific info as possible. Remember - those sort of people are not part of the community here. So we can post time after time about how we need to self-police, and how this could give us a bad image so let's not drive like that, blah blah.

But the target of our tirade is not here, so it really doesn't accomplish anything to ask others to drive safe.
 
I did not see the vehicle you are describing, but I did see very dangerous driving by a light blue mini-van with Oklahoma plates driving with its hazard lights flashing. I think it might have been a Toyota, but I’m not sure, but obviously a chaser. I was the third vehicle in a line of three chasers all heading ene on 136 east of Filley. We were not together as a group, we just happened to get in line on the highway. Anyway, we were pushing it a bit, as we were traveling between 70 – 75 mph in a 65 mph zone, when this light blue mini-van comes out of nowhere to right on my rear bumper. He kept swerving out into the other lane and pulling back because of oncoming traffic. I slowed down, so he could go around, and he did so in a no passing zone. He also passed the other two in a no passing zone. The blue van, another car, and myself all turned n on Sterling road, and I could see the van up in front of me, going up and cresting the hills on the wrong side of the road. Those of you, who were in this area, know how steep some of those hills were, and to be driving on the wrong side of the road, you never know whom you’ll meet at the top.
 
If anyone drives recklessly, chaser or not, they should be reported with as much specific info as possible. Remember - those sort of people are not part of the community here. So we can post time after time about how we need to self-police, and how this could give us a bad image so let's not drive like that, blah blah.

But the target of our tirade is not here, so it really doesn't accomplish anything to ask others to drive safe.
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It easy to sit here and say this is the best thing to do, but when you are on a storm, especially a fast moving spring storm, you have to make a choice. Do I stop what I’m doing and gather information about this guy and call it in, or do I continue on with my chase. I would almost always choose to continue on, unless I witnessed or come upon an accident. I would generally give no more thought about calling the guy in, than I would a car running a red light on my way to the drugstore.
 
"I would almost always choose to continue on, unless I witnessed or come upon an accident."

I agree - and that's why I'm saying these threads (which if you check the archive show up every three months along with "someone is going to get killed") don't accomplish much since the focus of them is not a part of this forum and wouldn't care even if he/she was...
 
Would you still say that if the guy had hit your vehicle? I bet not. I personally would call it in. Why? Because I would want somebody to call for me if it happened to me. It only takes a minute to get a license plate or a description, and it takes no longer to phone in this type of report to the police, than it does to call in a spotter report to the NWS. Both should be of equal priority, because in both cases lives and property may be at stake. Plus, it might just stop an accident before it starts. Remember, Seconds Save Lives...applies to more than just tornadoes.


It easy to sit here and say this is the best thing to do, but when you are on a storm, especially a fast moving spring storm, you have to make a choice. Do I stop what I’m doing and gather information about this guy and call it in, or do I continue on with my chase. I would almost always choose to continue on, unless I witnessed or come upon an accident. I would generally give no more thought about calling the guy in, than I would a car running a red light on my way to the drugstore.
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I definitely have a very strong opinion on this matter, but this same kind of topic regurgitates itself again and again so I am not even going to bother with it more than saying just have common sense and don't act like a moron on the roads.
 
I do not think jamming up the lines of local dispatch centers with reports of reckless driving during severe weather is a helpful thing at all. Call in EMERGENCIES ONLY. Police and sheriff departments, mostly rural offices in cases like this, will most likely ONLY have a few patrol cars on the street. The last thing they need is to have even more call volume during severe storms. The fact of the matter is this…there will always be people speeding and making bad passes around storms. Personally, I think calling the police for every person that annoys you with their driving is just another form of "road rage."

Officers are aware of this behavior. They see it every spring. However, do you see them making traffic stops during storms?...not in most cases. This is because, as a police officer, they need to prioritize hazards and address them in that manner. Officers will be spending their time addressing flooding, trees/ lines down, accidents (that have already occurred), power outages, tornado damage paths, and road closers first.

Don’t get angry if officers don’t take action against traffic offenses, and/ or your 911 call about a “bad driverâ€￾ has no police response.

I think the solutions are this...

1. Most importantly, make an effort to set an example yourself. Drive according to the conditions. If you have to speed a little bit, do it on open roads if at all possible. If you see cars coming at you or slower traffic in your lane ahead, SLOW DOWN. If you have to pass, be careful. However, every time you pass evaluate the situation. If you decide not to pass, ITS OK. There will most likely be another chance around the bend. Just play it SMART!

2. Realize that NO CHASER is BETTER than another. It doesn't matter what TV station, tour group, or research team you are on. Face the reality that, unless you have red and blue lights and a siren, we are all on the same playing field.

3. Finally, if you do see actions that are MAJOR VIOLATIONS like the "Extreme Chase Team" using lights to make others pull over (not minor annoyances) take pictures and/or video. (video being better) Law enforcement can do wonders when they are not swamped with other calls. Most of these departments in chase territory will most likely be more than happy to view video clips of major violations. I think, despite popular opinion, police CAN and WILL file traffic charges if the video evidence is adequate.
 
We all come up on these fellas .. Rather we are on a storm or not.. other than the lights of course.

I think this call the cops, call the cops mentality is somewhat freightening. The do gooders of society of course who stir trouble and call the cops if someone steps on their lawn or looks funny or drives like we would not like them to create more problems for society in my opinion.

Funny how we all see things differently.. I see calling the police as inviting the devil into my life. I have never came away with a good experience when dealing with them. Only time i would even consider calling law enforcement is in the event that Im victimized by a violent crime or theft.

We certainly should discourage crazy driving in the chaser community. But taking the time to call the police and make reports is somewhat as crazy as the crazy driving IMO.

My 2 c

Fred
 
Personally, I think notifying law enforcement of ANY unsafe drivers is a good idea. Also, if the word gets out that these reports are being made, it may make some drivers think twice about driving unsafely. Also, once law enforcement officers and agencies realize that chasers are making the reports, they may take a different look at the chasers and their activities and understand that MOST chasers ARE trying to act safely and responsibly.
 
"Also, if the word gets out that these reports are being made, it may make some drivers think twice about driving unsafely."

Again - these drivers are not part of the chase community. So 1) they probably won't get word of this "push" to report and 2) even if they did hear about it, do you honestly think they would care?

"once law enforcement officers and agencies realize that chasers are making the reports"

When dispatchers send out a reckless driver note, they don't add on what the caller is doing. So nobody will have the faintest idea that chasers are reporting yahoos...
 
I agree with rdale, they will not know who called in the report. It could make us look even worse if law enforcement officers are finding themselves pulling more chasers over for wreckless driving than before.

Me personally, I just worry about myself. I don't like wreckless chasers, but I'm certainly not going to call it in every time I see a speeding chaser. I see non-chasers doing the same thing almost on a weekly basis.
 
Yes and the explosion of chaser related reckless driving will accelerate Law Enforcement and state representatives to make laws regarding storm chasing...

Hoooray.. Hooray for the do gooders.. Horray..

Warning to all of those that live in glass houses.. There are citizen police amongst us. shhhhhh, "secret police".. lol
 
Personally, I'd just pick up the phone and start calling 911 to report a police impersonator. Cops don't like impersonators. Give them a license plate (or just describe the vehicle, they prolly have a pretty good idea) and turn 'em loose.
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Heh, and now's not a good time to be an impersonator in SE Nebraska. Cops around here are on the lookout for one that's been pulling people over for the past month. My guess is that whoever was running the lights would have been hauled in after a felony stop had someone bothered to call 911.
 
I saw that car with the lights, we thought that might have been a cop as well, so you know what we did? That's right, we passed his sorry a@#!

It's kinda funny, we get these systems throwing 60mph storms at us all spring and we keep finding posts about chasers speeding. I wonder if it's a coincidence?

And Damon Poole, it just takes a minute to get a licsense plate # and call the cops?! What storms are you chasing? I'm lucky if I get to call in the tornado let alone write down a chaser's tag # while I'm going 70mph down a wet road.

Do yourself a favor, keep both your hands on the wheel and your eye's on the road. Wouldn't that be ironic if a chaser got in a wreck because he was trying to write down someone's tag # on a chase?

Wow, I'm asking too many questions here, somebody help me.
 
Okay, so I'm as tired of this subject as the next person. However, I do feel that the topic is important, so I'll chime in.

Damon wrote:
It only takes a minute to get a license plate or a description, and it takes no longer to phone in this type of report to the police, than it does to call in a spotter report to the NWS. Both should be of equal priority, because in both cases lives and property may be at stake.

I disagree. There has never been a documented case since the chasing pioneers began of a reckless chaser killing someone else. While there have been sporadic reports of property damage (mostly broken fences or ruts in someone's yard), I sincerely doubt that property is at as great a risk from damage by chasers as damage by storms. By the way, unless an officer personally witnesses the action (or unless you have video), the offender cannot be ticketed. Therefore, calling a license plate in and saying you saw them passing in a no-passing zone will be a waste of your time and my tax dollars.

I have to agree that all this do-gooder activity would probably end up hurting chasing in the long run more than it would help. I postulate that chasers are actually probably more aware and safe than almost any other type of driver, due to the conditions we drive in on a regular basis (also more distracted at times than other drivers :unsure: ). Anyway, my point is that unless someone has seriously endangered another person's life, there's no call for us to run and tattletale to law enforcement every time a chaser forgets to use a turn signal.
 
Again - these drivers are not part of the chase community. So 1) they probably won't get word of this "push" to report and 2) even if they did hear about it, do you honestly think they would care?[/b]
Can we be absolutely certain that the offending drivers are not be subscribed to this or other popular chase forums? At least one of the names that were mentioned on the locked thread does have a connection to ST.org. Perhaps the message can be passed on indirectly.

It should be made known to these idiots that they are not welcome in the circle of responsible and ethical chasers. Do anything we can to publicize their reckless behavior, and then see what happens. In fact, the media might even play up that kind of angle in a story - a feud between two chaser camps. Surely, the camp that respects safety and demonstrates how they return service back to the community will outshine the macho idiots only in it to draw attention to themselves.

BTW - I'm of the opinion that the moderators should not have locked the original thread. Any chance to publicize reckless chaser behavior should be allowed in this forum, especially since the majority of ST subscribers fall into the ethical camp of chasers. The reckless chaser certanly drew attention to themselves by promoting his video to the media with his name plastered all over it.
 
It should be made known to these idiots that they are not welcome in the circle of responsible and ethical chasers. Do anything we can to publicize their reckless behavior, and then see what happens. In fact, the media might even play up that kind of angle in a story - a feud between two chaser camps. Surely, the camp that respects safety and demonstrates how they return service back to the community will outshine the macho idiots only in it to draw attention to themselves.
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Sounds like a great movie idea!!!


...sorry, couldn't resist. ;)
 
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