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When Video Games Are Safer Than Real Life

Posted on July 7, 2015  in Games

Coke Zero 400Random Thoughts Today

I’m just sharing some random thoughts here cuz I saw this really bad car crash yesterday and it’s bringing back some bad memories. Copious amounts of vodka have not helped and so I thought maybe writing about it might.

Yesterday I was glued to the TV watching the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach when all of a sudden there was one hellacious  crash.

I know how much fun we’re all having playing our favorite driving games.

My personal favorite is F1 2015 but I just thought “wow, video games can be so realistic, but damn, they are way safer!

Here’s something taken, literally, from the headlines of USA Today:

Austin Dillon in horrifying crash; five fans injured

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Coke Zero 400 early Monday morning, but the finish of the race was marred by a horrifying crash that sent Austin Dillon’s car sailing into the catch fence at Daytona International Speedway.

Dillon walked away and waved to the crowd after his car got airborne and was torn apart by the fence. He was been checked and released from the infield care center with a bruised tailbone and forearm.

Track president Joie Chitwood III confirmed 13 fans were examined and eight declined treatment. Of the five treated, one was transported to a local hospital, treated and released.

The other four were treated at the infield care center.

“It’s not really acceptable, I don’t think,” Dillon told reporters after exiting the care center. “We’ve got to figure out something. Our speeds are too high, I think. I think everybody could get good racing with slower speeds. We can work at that, and then figure out a way to keep the cars on the ground. That’s the next thing. We’re fighting hard to make the racing good. I hope the fans appreciate that. We don’t, but it’s our job. You go out there and hold it wide open to the end and hope you make it through.”

After Sam Hornish Jr. had spun through the grass to bring out the race’s final caution, that set up a green-white-checker finish. A mass of cars were jockeying for position behind Earnhardt Jr., who had been the driver to beat all night, and several lines followed him across the finish.

Denny Hamlin appeared to get backed up into Kevin Harvick. That pushed Jeff Gordon back into Dillon, whose car lifted and flew over two or three lanes of traffic and up into the catchfence toward the entrance to Turn 1.

The fence was torn down in the section where Dillon hit. Dillon’s car was hit again by Brad Keselowski’s car as drivers scattered to try to avoid the multicar pileup.

Crew members from many teams ran out to check on Dillon and help extricate him from the car. They gave a thumbs up when they saw he was OK.

Dillon waved to the crowd after being helped from the car.

The engine block from his No. 3 Chevrolet was seen smoking — completely detached from the rest of the car.

“It was very vicious,” Dillon said of the crash. “It’s twisting you around in there, and the belts are loosening with each hit, so the hits are getting more and more violent. By the fourth hit, you’ve separated enough so that the fourth one is going to hurt more than others. I held on to the steering wheel as hard as I could. I’m sure I’m going to find more bumps and bruises during the week, but right now I feel all right.”

Drivers were shaken up afterward, immediately concerned for Dillon’s well-being and that of the fans sitting near the action. Their reactions to the incident — and whether it could have been prevented — were mixed.

Ryan Newman was furious.

“NASCAR got what they wanted. That’s the end of it,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “Cars getting airborne, unsafe drivers, same old stuff. They just don’t listen.”

When asked if he believed another crash like this would help spur more changes and safety improvements, especially at restrictor-plate tracks where speeds reach more than 200 mph and the chances of cars lifting is increased, Newman replied:

“No. They had an event in 2001 (when seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed). They’ve had several events since then. They just don’t pay attention to safety. Simple as that.”

“It was just crazy. It’s part of this racing,” Dillon said. “Everybody is pushing as hard as they can — pushing in a tight pack. I was pushing the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the people behind are pushing me, It was just a wad right there at the end. At these speedway races, you’re just praying and hoping that you get through it.”

Dylan Whitlock, a fan from Mississippi, captured the incident on video and spoke to USA TODAY Sports moments after the crash.

“It happened so quick, I couldn’t move,” he said. “I’m shaking pretty bad.”

Whitlock said an eerie silence followed the crash as fans around him stood in shock.

“That’s the quietest I’ve ever heard somebody be when Junior won,” he said.
One man a couple rows behind Whitlock appeared to be hit in the head by debris, Whitlock said. But Whitlock said the man was being tended to and appeared to be awake and alert.

Just when Dillon thought the wreck was over, his car was hit again.

“I thought the wreck was over and I was sliding on the roof. I thought, ‘We made it. We made it.’ And then there was a big bang. I think it was the 2 car (Keselowski) that ran into me. Literally I had just got done stopping and crew members were everywhere. I thought that was really cool and special. It was comforting to me. They got to me pretty quick. I just wanted to get out of there and let the fans know I was OK.”

Aside from his minor injuries, Dillon said he had no headache or other pains from what his grandfather and team owner Richard Childress called a ”wild ride”.

“I’ll ice up and go get ready for Kentucky,” Dillon said. “It happened so quick. I was just hanging on and praying I would get through it and get to race again.

“This is what we do. We sign up for this every weekend.”

My car wreck

My car wreck. Broke my leg and 2 ribs.

Real Life Is Dangerous

So anyway, back to the crash. And the injured people in the stands. And you just know those injured fans are going to be talking to lawyers first thing Monday morning to see if they have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against NASCAR.

In all likelihood, the do. And if they do, chances are that it’ll take probably 2 or 3 years before they actually see any money from their injuries. Depending on how badly they’re hurt, they may not be able to return to work, plus you just know they’re gonna have a ton of extra expenses like hospital bills, doctor visits, co-pays and all the rest.

I happen to have a little bit of personal experience with that sort of thing. Although I didn’t get hit by a wall of exploding, tumbling out of control race cars, I did get in a car accident about a year and a half ago and was out of action for almost 3 weeks and then I was in limited action for about 4 months after that as I went thru therapy and had to learn to walk with crutches because I had a cast on my leg.

During those months, I couldn’t work for a good portion of the time. I got all jammed up with my bills and just about got evicted from my apartment. This is the part of my life I like to refer to as “The Wakeup Call”. It’s when I learned that I wasn’t nearly as financially secure as I’d convinced myself I was.

Fortunately a buddy of mine told me about a company he’d used before that offered a thing called “pre settlement funding“. I’d never heard of it before but decided to check it out because my buddy had nothing but good things to say about them.

Turns out, they give lawsuit cash advances (think of a loan) based on the merit of certain types of serious personal injury lawsuits. And unlike a bank, they didn’t care about my credit score, I didn’t need a house to pledge as collateral and I didn’t have to make any monthly payments while my case was going on. My case just settled a couple months ago and they waited to get paid back until I did. Overall it was a lifesaver for me.

Not quite sure why I mentioned it here. It’s just that every time I see or hear about a car accident these days, my mind immediately takes me back. I figured if my experience could help someone, all the better.

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