Underground racing, otherwise known as street racing, is an unlawful form of auto racing that mostly happens on public roads and exposed strips. The practice has been going on for years, even before four-wheeled machines took the streets. That's right, horse racing was a big deal back in the day, with men and women both taking part in the event.
However, these days, its all about automobiles, and from hot-rodding to muscle cars, street racing includes just about everything. But like all good things, the concept has its downsides. Yes, street racing can be exceptionally dangerous, with danger to both drivers and bystanders popping up as a common occurrence. In fact, a large number of people are sadly taken from us each year due to street racing or simply enjoying the races as a spectator.
And, in just Los Angeles alone, over a hundred people have had their lives cut short since 2000. For this reason, law enforcement all over the world is quickly cracking down on those who take part, with the penalties sometimes including time in custody. Furthermore, the cops go great lengths to warn people of the dangers of street racing and even attempt to infiltrate the groups that organize it.
Nevertheless, street racing is more popular than ever, even with the cops constantly on the lookout for illegal racing. Here are 20 weird rules about underground racing (that the cops don't want you to know).
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20 Three Honks Means Go Go Go
Street racing has several different codes that drivers and competitors are expected to know. For instance, when someone flashes their lights, it means they are challenging you to a race. The honking of the horn is another way to catch someone's attention and another way to try and persuade someone to race with you. In real life, most races start on the streets, with drivers somewhat finding themselves next to each other on a deserted stretch of road. That's right, street racing isn't quite like it seems in the movies and many drivers often race without an audience or crowd of spectators.
19 The Cars Are Classified By Tires
Street racing sure has a lot of rules, especially with regards to who races and who doesn't. Interestingly, street racing isn't just about racing fast and beating your competitor; it also has a lot of skill attached to it. Yes, each car is judged on their tires and then split into different categories according to its weight. That's right, in street racing it can often be more difficult to make sure that all races are as fair as possible, especially due to over the top modifications and highly customized cars. Therefore, each car is classified on the size and thickness of their tires, from "small tire" to "big tire" categories, which is simple, really.
18 Be As Rude As Possible
The world of street racing can be extremely cliquey, with insiders often commenting on how difficult it is to make friends, or at least feel like a part of the community. However, once you are in you are in, the wonderful world of street racing is mostly all about who you know and what you know. The sport also has a number of rules that not many people know, one of which includes the banter between the races. That's right, drivers are often encouraged to be as insanely rude as possible, in order to sway the heads of their participants. Thankfully, this rule is only necessary on the track, with drivers often making friends again once the race is over.
17 How To Avoid The Cops
Street racing is full of interesting rules and regulations but the most useful of all, according to some people anyway, is how to avoid the police and where to do it. That's right, with street racing now being illegal in most countries, it has become custom to inform those involved how to escape from the cops. Furthermore, those who organize the races are also clued up on avoiding the feds and now plan many races over the jurisdiction line between two police forces. This gives racers a few extra minutes to escape and the chance to avoid being arrested. Now, that is smart.
16 Make Sure To Have Money
Sadly, there is not a lot of money involved in street racing. However, you still need a few bucks to participate. There might not be a financial gain, but the amount of money going into your cars is likely to break the bank. From modifications to customizations, street-racing cars are usually a hotch podge of innovative design and can end up costing owners thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Yes, street racing can, unfortunately, come at a hefty price. Nevertheless, most street racers are in it for the adrenaline rush and not the cash, therefore the lack of money is never really a problem.
15 Learn The Lights
In order to survive in the street racing world, it is advised that potential should be drivers learn the codes of the road. That's right, street racing has a number of regulations, some of which are learned through word of mouth and some of which are told in advance. One, in particular, is the learning of the lights. The lights of a car have a special meaning in the wonderful world of street racing and should be learned as soon as possible. So what exactly are they? A driver will flash their lights a number of times when they want to officially challenge another driver. To accept, the other driver must flash the lights back or apply the brakes if they want to decline.
14 You Should Probably Hire A Lawyer
Everybody knows that street racing is against the law and, therefore, it is probably a good idea to think long and hard before you decide to compete. That's right, the street racing community often advises potential drivers to get ahold of a lawyer before they start racing. It is extremely likely that a race will get busted by the cops, which then results in either a hefty fine or in some cases, time in custody. However, having your very own lawyer increases your chances of getting away with just a slap on the wrists. So what are you waiting for, go get yourself a lawyer!
13 Abide By The Code Of Conduct
Street racing has a number of rules and regulations, as well as codes, that drivers must abide by. The majority of rules are learned by word of mouth, or at least away from curious onlookers. The flashing of lights and beeping of horns indicate certain things that only street racers would know, therefore it is important to learn these rules as soon as possible. The code is extremely helpful, and also extends to how drivers interact with one other. For instance, drivers are severely discouraged from lying about their vehicles, and if they do so they risk breaking the code, which often results in the forfeit of a race.
12 Make Friends
Although street racing is mainly a solo sport, it doesn't mean that you can't make friends. That's right, although it might be illegal, street racing still manages to attract a huge crowd, despite the risks. In fact, most races attract large amounts of people, who routinely turn up time and time again to watch the drivers at their best. Yes, the racing community doesn't just consist of drivers, it also contains fans, family members, engineers, and those who just enjoy the thrill of breaking the law. Street racing really is one big community and a place where friendship is highly encouraged.
11 The Best Cars Come From Japan
Street racing is popular all over the world, from Europe to the United States to Australia and beyond. However, street racing seems to have found its forever home in none other than Japan. That's right, street racing is incredibly popular in Japan, especially in cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama. In fact, the sport is so well-loved, that there are also a number of crews dedicated to burning rubber. One outfit, named the Mid Night Club, is notorious among street racers all over the world, with the club known for their fast cars, fast driving, and even crazier attitude.
10 The Golden Age Is Long Gone
Back in the day, street racing was a completely different experience, and in some ways was a lot more dangerous. Yes, the history of street racing is as old as the automobile itself, with racing cars just as thrilling now as it was at the beginning of the 1900s. Street racing is popular all over the world, with the United States one of the most prominent when it comes to competitive racing. However, although people might be more familiar with street racing today, especially due to the likes of movies such as The Fast and the Furious franchise, racing vehicles was actually a lot more thrilling in the past.
9 No One Rides For Pink Slips Anymore
One of the most commonly known factors of street racing is the idea that drivers put up their own vehicles as a prize for winning for the race. Yes, racing for pink slips originated on the famed 80s automobile movie, The Wraith, and was also the premise for the exceptionally favored car TV show, Pinks. However, in reality, putting up your own vehicle is a rarity, with drivers unlikely to risk losing their most prized possession. Nevertheless, racing for pink slips is still practiced in some races and can be extremely thrilling given the high stakes of losing an extensively customized car.
8 It's All About Modifications
Unfortunately, there might not be a lot of money in street racing—even if you win—but that doesn't mean that the sport itself is cheap. That's right, the cars involved are all engineering marvels, or at least they attempt to be, anyway. Yes, each car has been modified to the extreme, and when we say extreme, we mean extreme. From genetically engineered engines, super inventive suspension, and some extreme paint jobs, street motor vehicles really are the beasts of the automobile world. Therefore, in order to win, it is highly important that you have the means to do so, which means money and plenty of it.
7 Have A Get Out Plan Beforehand
Before each race, the drivers who are involved are advised to have a get out plan beforehand, or at least a form of escape. That's right, the police showing up uninvited is a common occurrence and something that can really put a downer on a night of preplanned events. Sadly, arrests are also extremely common, with some of the unlucky culprits even held in custody. Therefore, drivers often come up with their own get out plan or at least have somewhere to escape to. Yes, from preplanned escape routes, different motor vehicles, and a change of clothes, drivers really know how to get away from the feds.
6 Learn To Negotiate
Learning to negotiate is a big part of street racing and something that would-be drivers should learn ASAP. That's right, negotiating is a key part of the game and something that the cops don't like to bring to the world's attention. So why is it so important? Drivers are encouraged to sort out the details of a race beforehand, with the hustle and bustle of the organization often quite time-consuming. For instance, before a race, the drivers will usually check out their opponent's car while at the same time pretending to downplay their own. Yes, it really is all about the mind games on top of how fast you can go.
5 It Is A Male Oriented Sport
For some reason, street racing seems to be a male-oriented sport, with women seemingly uninterested in the hustle and bustle of racing cars. But why? A number of women across the globe regularly claim that the opportunity of racing is just not given to them, with women disregarded as either too slow or weak to take part. However, women routinely prove their worth in racing, whether it be Formula One, motorbike racing, or on the streets. Sadly, women have continued to be ignored. However, plenty of movies, such as the Fast and Furious franchise, regularly feature women putting the pedal to the metal.
4 It's A Solo Sport
Street racers are usually unaware of the ins and outs of the process before they begin, especially the fact that most racing consists of the driver and the driver alone. That's right, street racing is a purely solo sport, with most races featuring two cars and only two drivers. Sure, there are crowds and familiar faces but when it gets down to the actual racing, no one else matters. Sadly, this makes it more difficult for the cops, especially when trying to catch those involved in the racing. Yes, during a chase, it becomes easier for the drivers to escape, with the cops often unable to locate the drivers after they have ditched their vehicle.
3 Get To Know The Underground Community
Street racing might be a solo sport in some respect but it is still all about who you know. That's right, like most businesses and sports, knowing the right people can help you with regards to racing, equipment, and specialized knowledge. The street racing community is mostly underground, therefore it can be quite difficult to get connected to the right people. However, if you know the right people, you can all the informaiton that you require. So remember, next time you want to go street racing, get talking to people, make some inquiries, and play nice, you never know where it might lead.
2 Be Prepared For The Worst
Sadly, street racing isn't all fun games. Sure, it might look fun and it might look thrilling and exhilarating. Fixing cars and making them go faster is probably one of the most enjoyable things in the world. However, sometimes things can go wrong—very wrong. That's right, unfortunately, street racing has lead to a number of dangerous and hazardous events over the years. The sport is renowned for drivers driving at exceptional speeds, with some reaching speeds of a whopping 200 miles per hour. As a result, this can often lead to dangerous situations quite quickly, which is one of the major reasons the practice is illegal in most places.
1 Don't Expect To Get Rich
Sadly, there isn't a lot of money in street racing, with racers doing it for the thrill instead of the bank notes. Furthermore, drivers tend not to race for their vehicles, and racing for pink slips is definitely a thing of the past. These days, street racers are mostly interested in the adrenaline rush they experience when competing against their peers. Yes, the glory of winning races is much more appealing to those who love to race, with money usually seen as a positive perk. Plus, there are some opportunities for drivers to make some cash, with some races going all out in terms of competition prizes.
Sources: Discovery UK, IMDb, and Wikipedia.