There’s a whole underground code of conduct within illegal street racing community, and this is what I know about it

I do not approve, promote, or encourage illegal street racing at any level. Street racing, however, does happen. A lot. Here I am to tell you about the unspoken rules of street racing that should, at least, make you and anyone involved a tad safer. This list of unspoken rules, should also teach you a thing or two about street racing that you may have missed during your illegal racing forays "down in Mexico."

Logical Rules for Street Racing

Some argued that street racing started when we produced the second car. Well, the truth is that we raced against each other since we domesticated animals that could carry us. Whether they are ostriches, elephants, bulls, or horses, the one thing is for sure - we have to know which is faster. This thinking, or a feeling, successfully planted in the minds of almost anyone who ever owned or drove a car makes us do silly things on the roads.

A brain wired like that always looks for the next opponent. One way of finding that opponent is to look at the car he or she is driving. This is a no brainer, isn’t it? If you see someone stopped on the red light with the BMW 520i, or the BMW M5, who do you think is more susceptible to illegal street racing? At this point, there aren’t any general rules or regulations you can follow, and you’re wondering how can you be sure that someone wants to race? Welcome to the domain of real freaking life.

For starters, you can do a few things to show that you are willing to race:

  • rev your engine (don’t overdo it like a madman - be subtle)
  • stop at the light and slightly pull in front of the car you want to race with
  • pay attention to the behavior of the driver of the other vehicle
  • if the driver of the other car shows any of the signs that he wants to engage, then you probably know what to do (wait for the green light and floor it)

Of course, you could roll down your window and ask the other driver if he is interested in a race. That’s simpler and safer. However, I have to say - DO NOT DO ANY OF THIS, GO TO A RACETRACK AND HAVE YOUR FUN THERE. However, apart from this simple illegal street race, many of us experienced at least once in our lifetime, there’s a whole underground community that took street racing to an almost pro level. If you want to engage there, this is what you need to know beforehand.

Don’t kill anyone

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I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT KILL ANYONE. Illegal street racing is dangerous, stupid, and entirely out of order. At least 179 people died in Los Angeles County since 2000 in accidents involving street racing. What is far more concerning is a police report that shows that people who usually die in street racing accidents aren’t the drivers. So, when I say "do not kill anyone", I mean do not engage in illegal street racing at all. However, if you do it anyway, you can follow a few simple guidelines that should alleviate some of the danger. I will explore them further on.

Hold Races In The Small Hours Of The Morning

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Well, I think that this is the single most crucial unspoken rule about street racing anyone could think of. If you have to engage in illegal racing, you are best doing it in the small hours of the morning when there’s virtually no one on the streets. Yes, you are more likely to get spotted by the police, but you are in this sorry business anyway, so that may come as a sort of a bonus to you. Racing in the small hours of the morning also allows you to explore remote parts of the community you are about to violate, which leads us to the next unspoken rule of street racing.

Race Close To The Jurisdiction Line Between Two Police Forces

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The idea with this one is a simple one - if you race close to the jurisdiction line between two police forces, then, in theory, the police force monitoring, or even engaging with you, have to ask for permission to enter the jurisdiction of the other police force. I know that it does not sound like much, but even those ten or fifteen seconds, when police officers request the permission or notify the other police force, can mean the difference between freedom, a $2,000 fine, or something worse.
Interestingly enough, illegal race organizers have some etiquette that actually minimizes the risks involved with street racing. They usually do research, pick an abandoned or remote spot, and organize races in the small hours of the morning. They can be pretty thorough in following these unwritten rules to the letter. Well, not to the letter, but you know what I mean.

Don’t Lie About Your Car. Ever.

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I cannot stress this enough. Every time you lie about your car and enter a race, you inadvertently increase the risks when racing. Without proper information about your car, the other entrant (or entrants) in the illegal street racing will adjust the driving style and increase the likelihood of an accident. Plus, you will end up just being an ass about the whole thing, and that is not what you need in your life. Instead, you need to visit the local drag strip or a track, and hone your skills there instead of on a public road. If you, however, lie about your car, then the other driver may disqualify you from the race altogether. That is, in fact, an unspoken rule you have to be aware of. If you lie, you will be disqualified.

Classification By Tires

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This may come as a surprise to you, but the classification of cars within the underground street racing community usually rests on the type and size of the tires your car wears. As the modifications and upgrades are complicated to asses, underground illegal street racers come up with a simple solution - "big tire" and a "small tire" car. It is a crude but elegant solution as bigger tires usually provide far more grip compared to smaller tires. That gives them a clear edge when racing.

Communicating by Lights

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Unspoken rules of racing include a simple, yet effective way of communication between two parties. They communicate with lights. The theory goes that if you want to race the other driver, you flash your lights five or six times. If he or she flashes too, the race is on. On the other hand, if the other driver hits the brakes and you see brake lights, then you are out of luck. That other driver just declined your invitation for racing. This is only one example of communication using lights on your car. As this information usually travels from mouth-to-mouth, you are far more likely to learn about all of them at late night illegal street racing meets than on the Internet.

Highway And Light-to-light Racing Basically Ends When You Hit a Jam Or a Traffic Light

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Apart from organized early morning illegal street racing, you are far more likely to have a go with the random street racer from lights to lights, or on the highway. You can start when the lights change or give a signal for a start by honking your horn three times. If you have never experienced illegal street racing on the highway, search YouTube: you’ll unfortunately find plenty of content. The thing with the illegal street racing on public roads is the fact that it is tiresome, and not exactly fun. See, the highway racing ends up as soon as you hit a traffic jam (that can happen fast), and racing from light to light, with the super powerful machines of today, feels too short.

Escape Plan

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Well, this is an excellent title, isn’t it? The thing is that the police will probably come your way more than once if you participate in illegal street racing events. That is why every "member" of that outlaw community has to have an escape plan before they even start a race. This goes for drivers who race late at night with other avid street racers, not necessarily for drivers who occasionally race between lights when they get chance midday. That escape plan means that you have to know the surrounding streets really well. Plus, it helps to know where one police jurisdiction ends, and other begins.

Street Racing Is Illegal, So Everything I Have Just Said Is Absolute Jack *hit

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Street racing is Illegal. Like, "you could go to jail" illegal. So, everything I have just said you have to take with a massive grain of salt. Heck, even writing this, I felt like I was doing a bad thing. If you must do this sort of thing than you’ll better know these unspoken rules of street racing. As this is an entirely illegal activity, I have to tell you - don’t do it! Go to the track or to the drag strip. Or whatever. It is not as exciting, granted, but it may cost you less.

Street Racing Penalties

If you get caught street racing, the police have several penalties that can impose on you:

  • you may be charged with a felony
  • police can fine you anywhere from $500 to $2000
  • police can impound your car for thirty days

If you are involved in an accident while street racing, then you better get a lawyer. If someone gets injured, you are probably looking at jail time. In Germany, two street racers who killed a pensioner are serving life sentences right now. Let that sink in. It can happen in the U.S. as well. In fact, it is not unheard of that the D.A. office seeks a prison term of 15 years to life in case of some accidents involving street racers.

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