It happened on the last lap of a race at Daytona International Speedway: a horrifying 12-car pileup that sent chunks of debris flying into the grandstands. 16-year-old Tyler Anderson said of the crash, “I looked over and saw a hole in the fence, and looked behind me and saw a tire, a man under a tire and there were people screaming where’s my kid.”
Anderson, who was sitting in row 8, captured the moment of impact with his iPhone. In the video, you can see the tire that sailed into the crowd and landed on a man. You can see the people surrounding the injured and calling for help.
Thirty-three bystanders were hurt that day, with people being treated onsite and carried out on stretchers. A concessions worker said the crash sounded like an “earthquake,” and that she saw people running and crying and a girl completely covered in engine oil.
The fencing did the job it was intended to do, which was to keep the majority of the wreck on the track. Still, spectators near the collision were sprayed with pieces of that smashed vehicle, and when you see footage of the impact, it seems almost miraculous that no one died at the scene.
Injuries at car race events aren’t entirely uncommon. Three fans were kill in 1998 at an IndyCar race when a tire and other parts flew into the stands. Seven people were injured during a 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup race from crash debris. In 2010, a woman was killed by a tire that bounced off a dragster at a National Hot Rod Association event.
Then again, it’s estimated that the average American has a 30 percent chance of being involved in a serious car accident in their lifetime. In other words, it’s WAY more likely that you’ll get injured driving to the grocery store than having a tire land on your head during a NASCAR race. So why does a racing event suddenly seem like something I’d never, ever take my kids to?
Our family isn’t wild about car racing, so it really wasn’t likely that was something we were going to make into a family activity any time soon. But if I suddenly had the opportunity, I don’t think I’d do it. Or at the very least, I’d want my kids in the highest rows away from the track.
As a parent, it isn’t useful to be paranoid of freak accidents happening. I’m reminded of the time I read an article about a toddler being killed on a beach when a log somehow became dislodged in the sand and rolled over him, and the comments section had a woman saying that this was why she never took her own toddler to the ocean. “The beach is just too dangerous,” she wrote, and I thought, really? What a fearful, cramped life she must have.
And yet I can’t help mentally crossing NASCAR races off my personal list of Risks I’m Willing to Expose My Kids To. Even though I drive them to the grocery store several times a week without a second thought.
What’s your take on the NASCAR accident? Would you take your kids to a racing event?
Image via Nascar