Saudi Drifting Accidents
Drifting accidents are car accidents that occur as a result of Drifting. What is drifting, you might ask? Drifting is a new and dangerous activity where careless drivers swerve their cars by over steering it so that the back wheels slide from side to side as the car travells at a high rate of speed. In more common terms it may be classified as “stunt driving”. Stunt driving is illegal in most parts of the world simply because it is an irresponsible and dangerous use of a car. Drifting therefore has been relegated to movies and licensed car shows.
Drifting had its start decades ago in auto racing where drivers would try to navigate tight corners by making their rear tires skid around the curve of the track. This is achieved through a clever combination of steering and clutch control. Drifting gained popularity in Japan in the 70s when Japanese racer Kunimitsu Takahashi perfected the art and became renowned as the best drifter in sport racing. The excitement of drifting spawned a sub-sport where shorter tracks with more curves were introduced. Drifting competitions became common car show attractions throughout the 80s, 90s and on into the 2000s when Hollywood movies began to showcase the sub-culture in movies such as “Fast & Furious” and “Fast &Furious 2 - Tokyo Drift”.
Today thanks to the glamorization of Drifting as a cool activity, Drifting has become a common past time for irresponsible youth around the world who have fast cars and an immortal psyche. There is no better example of that combination of fast cars, immortal psyches, and irresponsibility than in Saudi Arabia where Arab youth have made Drifting a national travesty. Saudi Arabia is recognized as having the highest accident and road death rate of any country in the world. A large part of that statistic is due to Drifting which police and government officials admit to not being able to control.
Everyday across Saudi Arabia police engage in a cat and mouse game with youth who randomly gather to either take part or watch as Drifters careen down sand covered streets swerving back and forth until they either run out of momentum or crash their vehicles. On any given day or night and on any given roadway, busy with traffic or not the screech of tires becomes a signal for spectators to gather. Young men jump on road medians to get a bird’s eye view; others line the sides of the road. They shout and cheer as the cars roar by and drift erratically kicking up sand. Then as police sirens begin to blare in the distance and get closer they quickly disperse.
Occasionally during one of these impromptu Drifting sessions a car wipes out and the occupants are thrown out like rag dolls. Some die while others lose limbs and suffer other very serious injuries. Bystanders who take little care for their own safety are often hit by the out of control cars and become part of the statistics. With all the carnage that occurs on a daily basis due to Drifting there doesn’t seem to be any change in sight. It is as if Drifting is the only excitement in an otherwise boring culture built on strict religious laws. Every society is known for a particular preoccupation, good or bad. In Saudi Arabia the youth are now known as the “crazy Saudis” because of their love of Drifting.