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Sometimes I get asked if my racing experience helps on the street. Usually that’s not the case, as I refuse to street race, or do many extreme performance moves off-track. But the pandemic can create unexpected opportunities that demand the use of ingrained reactions and skills honed over decades of wheel-to-wheel racing.
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This weekend I drove my pre-order redline Z a few miles to play tennis on a fine fall day. Coming up to a stoplight, I was positioned in the far left-hand lane of a three lane avenue as a stoplight ahead turned red. Queued up behind a gold-colored, tinted window Camry, it was all too clear to see this late model Toyota hadn’t been washed in some time. As the light changed, the Camry was slow to accelerate, so I checked my mirrors and signaled for a change to the middle lane before starting to accelerate around. That was when the situation changed, and fast.

Shifting up easy into third gear, my peripheral vision suddenly picked up that the Camry was beginning to edge over right into my lane! The line of cars directly ahead was too close to allow me to cleanly accelerate past, so I glanced right and found the furthest right lane over was clear. The Camry kept coming, and remained within a foot of my door as the Z’s razor sharp steering allowed me to maneuver like making a pass at the start of a race in a tightly pack of racecars. Of course, I was also multi-tasking- honking my shrill, euro-type horn to warn the Camry driver they were driving almost straight into my Z!

Perhaps unconsciously, I used the VQ35DE’s ample torque to pull ahead and get into the right hand lane just before the Camry squeezed into it behind me. I rolled down my window and put my hand out to say what the ****, when the sight in my rearview mirror stopped me cold. Behind the Camry’s steering wheel was a tiny, white haired woman who was clearly struggling with driving. The windshield was the only non-tinted piece of glass that allowed me to see her predicament. She turned into a senior housing development shortly after and disappeared, probably oblivious to the shunt she had almost caused just seconds before.

I never saw the Camry driver again, but it reminded me of my own mother’s struggle to give up driving in her final few years. While this incident was over in seconds, it made me reflect that most accidents happen in the same span of time. Any hesitation on my part in coordinating throttle, brakes and steering could have resulted in bent sheet metal, curbed wheels, or worse. This is not to say that any alert Z car driver could have avoided contact, but years of bringing racecars home intact at the checkered flag certainly didn't hurt my chances! Ironically, driving during the pandemic is one of the few outlets left as infections rise during the last part of 2020. But Z car drivers must be aware that some of the worst (cars, trucks or drivers) are out there too. So stay frosty and share any close calls you had recently right here!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I posted this in hopes of hearing from other members on what's been happening in their neck of the woods. There's gotta be more 'near miss' stories like mine; or perhaps just what it's like to drive around your city during the pandemic. While the fall weather holds here in Colorado, the Z is my brief escape even if it's just to go to a local restaurant for pickup. I know others must be doing something similar in their city, so let's hear about YOUR story!
 

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Ironically, a Nissan Leaf driver almost broadsided my Z a few days ago in Denver. Can people not see a RED Z car? Or maybe they're from NYC and used to shoving their way way into traffic? Whatever, watch your six during the pandemic...
 
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