by JB Campbell
Apparently, most Americans have it. Most Americans ought to wear their seat belts because A), they’re willing to be told what to do by their employees and B), they don’t know how to drive. Of course, if I’m a passenger and the driver makes me nervous, I’ll buckle up to protect myself. But that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is you need to learn how to drive safely and defensively, and cops using “safety” as an excuse to arrest you.
We had a tragedy here recently. A seventeen-year-old acquaintance of my son was a passenger in a car driven by another kid the same age. The driver lost control in a corner and the passenger was ejected and killed. “Oh, he should have been wearing his seat belt!” Yes, because he was being driven by someone who had no training, who had no idea how to go around a corner a little too fast. Which thing was responsible for his death, no seat belt or no driver training? The reason the kid wasn’t properly trained was because Big Brother doesn’t want us properly trained. The Establishment (insurance companies, banks, government) has no interest in real safety – only in using the word Safety as a weapon to keep us under control.
I just got my second seat belt ticket in a couple of weeks. I’ll fight it in court and will probably win using court rules and technicalities, or maybe because the cop won’t show for a seat belt ticket. But then, this cop was pretty lame, so he might show up. I win virtually all my court fights here in California, using their own rules of conduct, which they hate to have to obey. If we all did that, the whole traffic ticket revenue scam would dry up because it wouldn’t be profitable. The traffic ticket scam, when there’s no property damage or injury and no victim, is a form of extortion, and the California Highway Patrol is in the business of extortion. These guys are a combination of terrorists and tax collectors, cruising around in hot rods with paint schemes psychologically designed to cause fear, scheming on ways to cheat you out of your cash.
Seat belts are designed for people who can’t drive. I don’t mean you don’t know how to parallel park. I mean, almost no people know how to avoid an accident no matter what gets thrown at you. Buckling up is an indicator of inability to be in total control of your vehicle. When you click that belt, your brain is un-clicking. Clicking that belt puts you in a slightly helpless state of mind, which is actually preparing you for a crash. Clicking that belt is a signal to yourself that some things are just beyond your control and well, if the worst should happen, at least you won’t be going over the dashboard and through the windshield.
As far as I’m concerned, clicking your seat belt is a sign of lack of responsibility, like voting. Here’s why:
I used to teach people how to drive. I mean, really drive. I had a thing called “The School of Slide Control.” It was part of the University of Nevada’s extension program, and they gave me some acreage outside of Reno. I had a big asphalt skidpan with pop-up lawn sprinklers and a very slippery seal coat on top. I taught would-be racing drivers, cops, normal people, old ladies, kids and even some curious California Highway Patrol instructors how to slide cars and not slide cars. I used VWs, Corvairs and BMWs.
To me, there’s no excuse for an accident. I accept full responsibility, no matter what. I don’t care how bad or ornery the other driver is, he’s not going to hit me, unless I’m parked and can’t get out of his way. But that’s not exactly seat belt country, sitting there parked. If my car’s moving, and he hits me, I’ll count it as my fault. So far, since 1958, it hasn’t happened.
A lot of guys can slide cars at low speeds. They usually don’t know what they’re doing and probably can’t do the same maneuver twice, exactly the same way. I can drive sideways at 120, 130, 140 mph. The faster, the better. There are no mysteries for me in the sliding of cars, or the control of slides. One-eighties, three-sixties, parking it backwards – I can teach you anything.
I learned the hard way, driving single-seater formula racing cars in Australia and England back in the mid 1960s, starting at age 18. Lotus, Cooper, Brabham, etc. In 1970, Road & Track magazine, Popular Mechanics and others pronounced my school and my teaching method the best they’d seen. Mercedes-Benz introduced their new 1970 V-8 engines to the USA at my driving school, represented by the legendary chief racing engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. This was an extraordinary honor for me. Eng. Uhlenhaut brought eight new sedans with the big engines. All the automotive magazine guys were there and we raced the cars around my skidpan. Then, Herr Uhlenhaut, age 64, got in one and proceeded to blow our doors off. Even my doors, on my own skidpan. (In test sessions for the 1954 MB Grand Prix racer, he posted times that were faster than those of the even more legendary works driver, Juan Manuel Fangio, the ultimate Formula 1 master of the 1950s.) Then we went out onto the Nevada highways for a high-speed run, since there was no speed limit in those days.
Uhlenhaut’s blowing my doors off aside, I’m still a pretty fair speaker on the subject.
People today are shocked to learn that road racers, the Grand Prix drivers, from the early days right up to the 1970s, did not wear seat belts. We never did in Australia or England. The American drivers always did, at least since the 1940s. And those seat belts got a lot of American drivers killed. The deadliest aspect of racing, everywhere, was fire and when those screaming gas cans crashed or rolled, they invariably caught fire. The stunned driver was trapped and either couldn’t extricate himself from his seat belt or rescuers couldn’t unhook him and drag him out of the flames and he fried. The road racers preferred an easy exit to being strapped in and barbecued, with the exception of Phil Hill, who tied himself in so he wouldn’t have to hang onto the wheel.
But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about being told what to do by a bunch of stinking cops and bureaucrats who think they own the place, and this “it’s for your own good” excuse for stopping you and checking you for warrants and contraband.
But if seat belts are so wonderful, and if our children’s lives are so precious (which they are), then why aren’t children required to wear seat belts on school buses? Do school buses never crash? “If it can save ONE child’s life?” Why aren’t you forced to click it on Greyhounds, which are definitely known to crash? Because safety isn’t the point of the seat belt law. The point of the seat belt law is mind control and separating us from our money. In other words, it’s about power.
Now, I will concede that wearing seat belts in racing cars today, now that crash fires are not so common, is a good idea, because you’re really being slammed around by some very high G-forces when cornering and breaking. But motor racing has virtually nothing in common with normal driving, believe me. The average driver cannot imagine the brutal acceleration, cornering and impossible breaking that’s done when racing. The tires are at the very limits of contact with the road, and often just beyond, and it is quite common to see racing drivers, even the best, lose control and spin out. But racing is a blood sport in which drivers frequently lose their lives – it is that extreme. The speeds at Indianapolis, etc., are insane, for example.
My pilot friends insist that seat belts are good because, by God, if they’re good enough for airplanes then they’re good for cars. People in airplanes are subject to some very unpredictable forces but even in airplanes you’re usually free to move around the cabin until the pilot asks you to buckle up. Then he tells you you’re free to move around once more. And I’ve found that pilots live in their own special world and generally, however brilliant they are in the sky, aren’t as good at controlling cars. They spend their time breaking the Law of Gravity and they’re good at it, but when it comes to breaking Newton’s Laws of Motion, most of them don’t get it.
Again, if you don’t know how to drive and you like being told what to do by people you pay, then by all means, buckle up. Seat belts represent to me the Police State.
Then there’s the helmet law, here in the Golden Police State. Did you know that in California, it’s against the law to wear a helmet while driving your car? Why do you suppose that is? Because helmets limit your vision and hearing! Don’t you think helmets have the same effect on motorcycle riders? All it’s about is telling us what to do, getting us in the habit of obeying. A heavy, high-priced full-face helmet may prevent a cracked skull but it can also snap your neck, which is not designed to support all that weight. Which do you think is more survivable? I survived a compound skull fracture (horses), but the great Jimmy Clark couldn’t survive his broken neck at Hockenheim. Or Dale Earnheart at Daytona.
How about those ultimate safety devices – the airbags? How many children have been killed by these explosive safety devices? Have you seen the warnings of death and destruction on all new cars – from airbags? Children under 12 can’t ride up front because they might be killed by airbags. Same with small adults. What happened to the “If it saves ONE child’s life”?
It’s not about safety, it’s about power over our minds, and it’s about taking away our responsibility for our own safety, same as the Thugs Standing Around in the airports. Have these abusive, armed morons prevented one hijacking or “terrorist event?” They can’t even identify bombs and guns when their instructors stick them in luggage as tests.
Now, I’m all for automotive safety. I devoted my life to it for years. I’m also big on gun safety and have been since around 1954. But safety with machinery cannot be mandated by law, with gimmicks. Safety comes from good training and the right state of mind. The way to keep from crashing a car and needing a seat belt is by learning car control and accepting total responsibility for preventing accidents. If that’s too much trouble, then buckle up and get ready to crash.
The equivalent in the gun world is another gimmick called a “trigger lock.” Anyone who would put a trigger lock on a gun shouldn’t even have a gun. What, are we afraid the thing is going to go off by itself if that trigger is left exposed? Oh – I forgot: the children. Trigger locks might save ONE child’s life. But my old man handed me a snub-nose .38 when I was nine years old, only after I’d shown him since age seven that he couldn’t get in front of any gun in my hands. He had a couple of dozen guns around the house, on the walls, in cabinets, on his nightstand. None of them ever went off by itself. Some of them did go off down in the basement, where he had a shooting range. We shot guns down there quite a bit, and we had to make them go off.
No, you say, I’m not afraid it’s going to go off by itself – I’m forced to do it by law where I live. Really? So what? Imagine needing your gun at three in the morning or any time at all and right now you, with shaking hands, have to locate the key to unlock the stupid thing, in the dark, so you can wrap your finger around the trigger and save your life. What’s more important – obeying the law or defending yourself? You decide.
It’s all part of the same program to turn us into Canadians. I guess they figure if we obey them on the seat belt scam we probably won’t be carrying guns in our cars, to defend ourselves from hijackers, muggers, cops and other low-lifes. And many of us do keep our guns at home but, because it’s The Law, don’t carry them with us where we also need them – in our cars and on our persons. But as a friend once said, if your life’s worth protecting part of the time, it’s worth protecting all the time. Regarding kids, just follow Stephen Stills’ advice: teach your children.
So, we all need to learn how to drive defensively, being ready for any eventuality, and get out of this mind-control and behavior modification syndrome of automatically reaching back and pulling your safety-blanket over your shoulder. I want to make the case for achieving total control of your vehicle and accepting full responsibility – in your mind – for preventing accidents. No excuses, such as, Oh, this drunk pulled right out in front of me! Tough. Deal with it and don’t hit him, no matter what. But I just couldn’t stop in time! Really? Then steer around him, or fling the car sideways and catch the slide but don’t hit him! To be able to do this requires a clear mind, constant checking around you and always looking for an escape from the worst thing that could happen where you are right now. Don’t just cruise along, daydreaming. Think about the worst case scenario all the time. What if that big rig coming at you on the two-lane at 75 mph has a blowout and veers right into you? Are you thinking of a place to go to keep him from hitting you? You should be. How fast could you change direction from straight ahead to going suddenly right (or left) to avoid a wreck – and stay in control? How long does it take you to get your foot on the brake? What if you’re going through a fast turn on a cold day and right in the middle of the turn is a patch of ice? Could you deal with it and not spin off the road, maybe sideways into a tree or over an embankment? Probably not, but I used to teach people exactly how to deal with it, in eight hours of training.
The insurance companies, the government and the cops want you to deal with it by buckling up. All that does is maybe help you survive the crash. But your real job is to prevent the crash, and nobody in the above groups has any plan for doing that. This is America and Americans aren’t supposed to be able to drive, or think or defend themselves. They’re supposed to shut up and do as they’re told, by armed parasites that live on our tax money.