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Baja 500 Chase Crew Safety

MasTacos

Well-Known Member
Forgive the long post, the information in it has been posted many times before by various people so it grows a bit every time but I think it's important to keep posting it before every race.

This year's Baja 500 is going to pose some special safety challenges for Chase Crews since Rte 3 will be the main artery for most all of the Chase and spectator traffic. We all love going down to Baja and racing and we appreciate the ability to do so but remember that it's all about having a great time and making it back home safely.

There are many threads buried in RDC around chase crew safety and tips for moving around Baja so I'm going to repost one of my old ones along with some great information from PCI in the hopes it'll help get some people home safely and make the chase experience smoother. I'm also posting the link to the incredible write-up Kent Kroeker did related to the road fatality his team was involved in from Jan of last year as a cautionary example of what can go wrong and his excellent "lessons learned". It's a tragic incident but definitely worth a read through.

With that in mind:

Make sure your license and vehicle/trailer registration is up-to-date!

Driving on the roads:
The roads in Baja are MUCH narrower than you may be used to! (see below for just how thin it can get), in some cases there's little to no shoulder. Driving in Baja is not like driving in the states! The main highway can often be narrower than the main drag in your town and can have some tight turns. On this road moves a fairly substantial amount of traffic, particularly buses and trucks. Some of those turns are tighter than the trucks can make it so they have a tendency to cut in. Keep an eye out for what's ahead of you and, if you see trucks coming into a turn, plan accordingly. Hauling a trailer can make the process even trickier. Your race truck/moto/utv is out there and it's easy to feel the pressure to get to the next spot to meet them but don't do it at the expense of your safety!




Driving onto the course:
If you're in a chase truck and decide to drive onto the course to recover your vehicle, remember you're going on to an active race course! Remember too that these paths can be occupied by local foot and vehicle traffic. Be careful and remember that you're not the one racing!

Driving at night:
If you do have to drive at night, be extremely careful!! The hazards of the road are magnified by lack of vision, the mental state of the truckers coming at you and other hazards (cows like to come down on the road just after dusk) that you might encounter. Do not drive faster than you can see! Please turn OFF your new LED light bar/HID lights as soon as you see a car approaching from your opposite direction of travel when you are on the highway, even if it is 2 miles away.

Military Checkpoints:
You'll run into military checkpoints at certain locations. Remember that Mexico has been fighting a war against the "Narcos" for a while and these checkpoints are part of the process. Expect to be asked to get out of your vehicle and for an inspection/search (especially if you have a trailer). This is a totally normal part of travelling in Baja and you should remain calm and philosophical. The soldiers at the checkpoints are just doing their job so let them. Bring a bag of Costco candy to share and you'll see some smiles.

Guns or Drugs:
Nope, not under any circumstances... ever.

You may hear keyboard lawyers telling you that a certain amt of x/y/z substance is permissible but you really don't want to test that statement out, do you?

Do not bring a firearm under any circumstances and, if you do shoot as a past-time in The States, make SURE to sweep your chase vehicles for any extraneous ammo. You are inviting trouble if you don't

Getting pulled over:
If you do get pulled over, remain calm and be respectful. You may have heard stories about having to give a "mordida" (Bribe) but they are both unnecessary and illegal. Never give money directly to the police officer. Tickets should be written both in Spanish and in English and contain instructions on the back. The police may ask you to return to the station to pay the fine. If you feel that the fine is unfair or you have any questions, contact the State Secretariat of Tourism for Baja California.

Here's a printable document from the discover baja site that outlines in more detail in both English and Spanish

http://www.discoverbaja.com/wp-content/uploads/TRAFFIC-VIOLATIONS.pdf

If you do get into an accident:
Take a deep breath, remain calm and realize that your future plans are now on hold

From the Bajabound website -
  • Do not move the vehicles until you are given permission by the authorities.
  • Dial the Baja California (Norte) Emergency Response Hotline at 066. This is the Mexican equivalent to 911. Make sure they send out an accident investigator (perito) to take an accident report. An accident report is extremely important to have to file a claim.
  • Call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident occurs and before you leave Mexico.
    • HDI Seguros toll free within Mexico 01-800-019-6000 or direct 01-477-710-4781
    • ACE Seguros toll free within Mexico 01-800-362-7288 or direct 01-818-374-8053
  • Others who were involved in the accident may try to offer payment to you for damages. Do NOT accept any payment without consulting the insurance company.
  • Information to collect at the scene:
    • Contact information for drivers involved
    • Insurance information for drivers involved
    • Other relevant information
  • A bilingual representative will be able to assist you and they will ask you for the following information:
    • Policyholder's name
    • Policy number
    • Agent's name
    • Description of the insured vehicle
    • Description of third party's vehicle (if applicable)
    • Coverage in force
    • Exact location of the accident
    • Telephone number (if available)
    • Brief description of the accident
  • If the accident is not reported before leaving Mexico, you risk having your claim denied. In many cases, an adjuster will be sent to the scene. The adjuster will need the following information:
    • Insurance policy
    • Driver's license
    • Vehicle permit of importation (if applicable)
    • Written declaration of accident details signed by the policyholder
  • Once the investigation is complete, it will be determined who is at fault. This may be carried out at the scene or at the police station. Hopefully at this time an agreement will be worked out to compensate the non-guilty party.
  • You have the right to ask for an attorney while at the police station. If you feel you may need an attorney, discuss this with the HDI or ACE representative.
  • Even if minor injuries have occured during the accident, the case may go to the State DA's Office.
  • It is recommended to check with your domestic medical insurance company to find out what coverage you have, if any, while traveling in a foreign country. Ask the company to send you the details of the coverage in writing if possible.
  • Once you have returned from Mexico, you may follow up on a claim with HDI Seguros by calling International Claims Service at 1-800-284-9783. ACE Seguros may be reached from the U.S. or
  • Canada by dialing 1-855-305-4034.
Car/Trailer Registration:
Make a copy of your registrations, keep one set in the chase truck, the other on you. If you do not have them available, you may face having your vehicle & trailer impounded in the event you're stopped.

If you're a first-timer in Baja, the keys to being safe are to stay calm, drive carefully and be smart.

From PCI (http://www.pciraceradios.com)

  • Remember the principles of good communication: who, why, where, what, and when.
  • Who: The first words you speak should be the car number you're referring to, then your vehicle number if different, then your name. "1625, chase 3, Jimmy".
  • Why: Clearly and briefly state why you're calling Weatherman. "I need a relay" or "Our car is stuck".
  • Where: Identify where you need assistance or the location (frequency) of the person you need to contact. "To 1625, Chase 1, Bob," or "Race mile 52.5 (or GPS coordinates)".
  • What: State specifically what you need. "I need two tires," or "I need a tow strap."
  • When: The answer to this should be "Right now". If it isn't urgent and necessary, you shouldn't be calling Weatherman.
 

firedog

Well-Known Member
From PCI (http://www.pciraceradios.com)

  • Remember the principles of good communication: who, why, where, what, and when.
  • Who: The first words you speak should be the car number you're referring to, then your vehicle number if different, then your name. "1625, chase 3, Jimmy".
  • Why: Clearly and briefly state why you're calling Weatherman. "I need a relay" or "Our car is stuck".
  • Where: Identify where you need assistance or the location (frequency) of the person you need to contact. "To 1625, Chase 1, Bob," or "Race mile 52.5 (or GPS coordinates)".
  • What: State specifically what you need. "I need two tires," or "I need a tow strap."
  • When: The answer to this should be "Right now". If it isn't urgent and necessary, you shouldn't be calling Weatherman.
I hear it all the time and have experienced it my self..."Race #999 to chase do you copy"?, 30 seconds later "Race #999 to chase do you copy"? Being in the chase truck able to hear the race vehicle you reply but the race car cannot receive your transmission. This goes on for 5 or so minutes with no information exchanged. You as the chase vehicle know their is a problem but don't know the Who, Why, Where, What, When! You end up screaming at the radio saying just tell me what the [email protected]#$ is going on, and and where the [email protected]#$ are you!

If you are in a race vehicle with a problem and you try to contact a chase truck for assistance and do not receive a reply from the chase vehicle, broadcast your location, your issue and what you need to fix said problem!! (Who, Why, Where, What, When) Your chase may be able to hear your but you cannot hear their response! "Chase 1, Race 999 in the blind, we have this issue at this location and we need this to fix it". Follow that up with a call to the weatherman (Race #999 to Weatherman, do you copy? then tell him the Who, Why, Where, What, When) so he can broadcast your issue,on your race frequency! Channel #5 will not work!! You need to know your race freq, example 152.350.

Continue your broadcast "Chase 1, Race 999 in the blind, we have this issue at this location and we need this to fix it" every 5 min. until you get an answer from your chase or the Weatherman and work on the issue, you may be able to fix it before help arrives!

Radio etiquette, always state who you are calling first then identify who you are, example: Chase #1, Race #999. Your guys know their call sign (Chase #1) and if that comes over the radio first then they perk up and listen.

I typically have 2 radios going at one time when chasing Baja. My mobile is on the "race frequency", speaker mounted in the center of the cab and I have a hand held in a vehicle charger behind the driver on the weatherman freq. This way I can isolate what I am listening to while driving. Right ear=race freq, left ear=weatherman. The weatherman is usually at a very high elevation or in an airplane so the handheld can receive most of the time.
 
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Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
Radio etiquette, always state who you are calling first then identify who you are, example: Chase #1, Race #999. Your guys know their call sign (Chase #1) and if that comes over the radio first then they perk up and listen.
Excellent info. I personally like to repeat the call info twice too since it isn't uncommon for the beginning of a radio transmission to get cut off.


Sent from the RDC Mobile App. Get it for your IOS device today
 

JDDurfey

Well-Known Member
Excellent info. I personally like to repeat the call info twice too since it isn't uncommon for the beginning of a radio transmission to get cut off.


Sent from the RDC Mobile App. Get it for your IOS device today
It is always wise to pause just for a second before speaking once you have keyed the mic. Try working on an oil site with a bunch of guys talking on headsets in Spanish and you lose half or all of the first word in every transmission. With all the noise, it takes me half the sentence to figure out what they are saying especially when there is an emergency, getting the guys to slow down is difficult.
 

johndjmix

Well-Known Member
Also remember always have a say phone. Weatherman was not reachable in the southern parts of the 1000 in nov.

--John


Dunarri LLC
wildscooterparts.com
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johndjmix

Well-Known Member
Say phone = sat phone. Darn auto correct! Thanks Marco for letting me know!

--John


Dunarri LLC
wildscooterparts.com
coolermods.com
 
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