I’ll do my best to keep the proverbial finger-wagging to a minimum here, but let me get the PSA out of the way right at the top: Stop being an idiot and using the coronavirus situation to speed everywhere like you own the damn road.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on our daily lives in many ways, but one of the side effects of stay-at-home orders have been (fairly) empty roads. So, as time’s gone on we’ve seen countless stories of speed junkie after speed junkie taking advantage of the situation. Case in point: This 19-year-old teenager, who police caught speeding on the Queen Elizabeth Way freeway in Burlington, Ontario, just outside Toronto.
They clocked the teenager doing a staggering 191 mph (308 km/h) in his dad’s Mercedes-AMG C63, which is pushing the limits of what the car can handle, to put it mildly. That’s to say nothing of the driver’s skill (or lack thereof), either.
The driver also had another 19-year-old in the passenger seat when they were pulled over. Their excuse? Just “going for a drive”, returning from an earlier cruise. Naturally, the local and provincial police were flabbergasted by what had transpired. “I’m pretty much speechless on this one,” said Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Kerry Schmidt. “This is absolutely egregious for anyone to be king those kinds of speeds.” To that end, drivers were reportedly honking after police pulled the driver over, thankful that the high-speed menace had been stopped.
The speed limit in that area is around 110 km/h, or about 68 mph.
Of course, the teenager in this case is hardly the only one guilty of that level of recklessness in recent weeks. There was another story of egregious speeding in Toronto earlier this year, and a story of a drunk driver caught going 192 mph “on his way to go eat breakfast” in Washington just last week. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
It should go without saying, you know
Eventually, traffic will return to these roads as stay-at-home orders are lifted in the coming weeks. What’s particularly worrying about all the speeding is that it’s a tough habit to break once you start doing it. If the driver’s 19 years old, it’s almost certain they’ll start feeling invincible after the first time they try driving triple-digit speeds and don’t stuff it into the wall, or worse — take someone else out in the process.
For their part, the 19-year-old Mercedes driver got his dad’s car impounded for a week, and lost his license for the same time span. He could also face up to $10,000 in fines and six months in jail for the charge of “stunt driving”, according to local officials. Just around Toronto, police have charged about 150 people with street racing in May alone, Schmidt says.
We’ve all been cooped up for weeks on end now, and as a car enthusiast I realize how tempting it is to take advantage of the open roads. And if you’re not putting yourself and other in harm’s way, I have absolutely no issue with taking a cruise. I’ve done that myself, just for the sake of keeping my sanity.
Of course, what I’m not down with is you driving at nearly 200 freaking miles per hour on the same public roads that I’m taking that cruise on. Sure, this story was in Toronto, but speeding has become a massive problem in every major city. This reminded me of a time about five years ago when I was driving on a freeway just outside Denver. The speed limit is 65 mph, and I was about to change lanes to make a left-hand exit. Just as I was about to do that, I just happened to glance in my mirror and catch a BMW 6 Series (with their headlights off) driving about 140 mph in the lane I was about to enter.
He and I were the only two on the road at that time. If I hadn’t double-checked my mirror at that exact moment, he would have slammed into me and I’d probably be dead. And I know that I’m not the only person who’s had a close shave like that, either.
So seriously, to those of you out there who pull this crap or are impressed by it: knock it off.