Silt Safety!

Jordan Brenthel

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Silt Happens...

Being stuck in silt especially at night IMO is one of the most dangerous parts of racing baja or in the states for the guys in the race trucks. I've been stuck multiple times over the years and had close calls while out of the truck, been hit (more like barely touched) and in close proximity of a fatal silt accident while trying to dig myself out. I've come up with a simple set of rules while getting unstuck for myself and navigator.

- Push the Caution button on the Stella/ Racing Trax unit
- Stay buckled and brace yourself until the dust settles in the event another truck is coming behind you and cant see
- Leave the rear lights and Amber light on
- Hook a tow strap to your front bumper, if another racer is kind enough to yank you out make it quick so they can be on their way swiftly
- Once out of the truck 1 person digs/ gets unstuck while 1 person directs traffic with a flash light (lets call it the "safety watch" lol) if a race vehicle is coming the safety watch alerts the digger to get out of harms way as best they can (off the course, opposite way the truck is heading or opposite side of your race truck with enough room between so if your truck got hit and moved you'd be safe)

Getting unstuck safely can take much longer, can be very frustrating and not many will do it this way but it could be a life or death choice. I know which I choose

Experienced racers feel free to chime in with silt safety tips
 

retroblazer

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Good guidelines in general, but not much help if you’re driving a single seater. After watching D2G2 last night, I noticed that bike racers had nice flashing lights on their backs and helmets. It would be relatively easy to rig one to wear when out of the car.

To give an earlier warning , I’d mount a small battery powered strobe light, on top a telescoping pole that could be stuck in the ground.


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dan200

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Good guidelines in general, but not much help if you’re driving a single seater. After watching D2G2 last night, I noticed that bike racers had nice flashing lights on their backs and helmets. It would be relatively easy to rig one to wear when out of the car. To give an earlier warning for on coming cars, I’d mount a small battery powered strobe light onto the top a telescoping pole.


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Wait, are you lobbying for rear facing lights? ;)
 

ACME

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Safety Triangles! We are all required to carry them but they rarely get used an with the flashlight a reflector in a noticible spot 100-200' prior to the vehicle or in the hands of the guy waiving is very obvious.

Maybe it's time to suggest reflective stripe on driving suits? Most are black and when covered in dust are very unnoticeable. My Sparco and my wifes OMP suits have a very shiney white stripe that was a consideration for Baja when we bought them...
 

retroblazer

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Our firefighters would know, but I think there is reflective material on their coats. I think the advantage to my strobe light idea on a short pole is that there would be much greater visibility, versus something on the ground that requires light to be visible.


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y2kbaja

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Whatever it is needs to be automatic. Meaning, most drivers won't take the time to put up a pole, turn on a switch or move triangles out. Let alone pick them up when they're unstuck. Another great idea--put reflective tape on your shovel and max trax!
 

retroblazer

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Racing is a choice we make, so if you don’t want to use safety gear, that’s your choice. As it should be. For me, I’m going to get the lights like BITD mandates for the bikes, that are battery powered. One will go on the back of the my cage to turn on when the car is down, and the other to deploy down trail.



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tapeworm

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Firefighter turnouts do have reflective safety stripes on them for visibility. I don’t remember the minimum requirement for the length of reflective material affixed but in California OSHA doesn’t believe it is safe enough so we are required to wear an additional traffic safety vest just like every other roadside worker. In my opinion this is a better option as it can easily be taken on and off when getting in and out of a vehicle. Im not sure that just the reflective striping is enough when affixed to a black racing suit in the dark. Bright fluorescent yellow, green or orange will probably be better colors than the standard driving suit colors.


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mwr352

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Always remember when stuck to shut engine and fans off so you hear hear there is no other vehicles coming before unbelting and getting out of the vehicle... Pumpers also.
 

retroblazer

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Of course California bureaucrats know better. I’m guessing the standard traffic vest would be igniting when exposed to direct flame.
Personally I’d put a couple of pieces of reflective tape on my helmet, and call it good. I think it’s too late to do any good by the time an approaching driver sees enough to react. Much better to give advance warning of a downed vehicle. After reading the BITD rules for bike and quads racers, they must mount a light to their chest protectors or person. As was properly pointed out we are required to carry reflective triangles. I was getting hung up on putting one on a pole, but the triangle would be a great place to mount a light.


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HSDMORGAN

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I think having something that is reflective is the best way to be seen. One year at the 1000 we put lights sticking out of the tops of our cones so we could see out pit better at night. I never saw the lights due to the lights on the car being so bright but saw the reflective tape around the cones very well.
 

51rcr

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we did reflective orange tape on our helmets and had some regular white to put on the suits but didnt get it done. Just stick on, wouldn't take much. Was made for material. We usually have florescent orange helmets also, didn't have time to get that done. I hate black suits(especially on dark dirt tracks) but make sense for desert type racing since it wont show stains like my red suit. Its amazing how far a little bit of reflective can be seen. Blows me away anytime we ride snowmobiles at night.
I been dreaming of a custom suit in bright orange with all the flight suit pockets, leather or heavy knees and elbows and with reflective stripes like oil field suits have. Just desert is to hard on them working on stuff ect. Maybe some one will make this type of safety desert specific type of suit in nomex and AFFORDABLE. Also a nice leather nomex lined desert type of boot.
You can get some led runners type arm bands reasonable also. I seen awhile ago once that the masked mans pit team had red lights on the back of there pit helmets.
 

J Burleson

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Great post Jordan! I almost ran over a TT driver at the 1000 who was digging in the middle of the track, no lights on the truck, no flashlight, no triangles! (Rm 290ish- it was obvious you had good notes for this spot because I saw you guys go far right and cut out most of the deep sand!) I have a bicyclist flashlight mounted to my helmet that has a flashing rear facing red light and like you said, we took turns digging and directing traffic.
 

down4glamis

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Was that you stuck in the silt/valley before Coyote's and Mikes at the 500 this year? Not a great spot to be stuck but there was ZERO warning when we came across you or your truck.
 

Robin Hood

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I think having something that is reflective is the best way to be seen. One year at the 1000 we put lights sticking out of the tops of our cones so we could see out pit better at night. I never saw the lights due to the lights on the car being so bright but saw the reflective tape around the cones very well.

I think this may be the most important point made in this thread. If racing at night maybe every car should be required to have reflective tape on all four sides
 

randy s

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obviously it wouldn't apply to everyone, but in my truck with operational doors, i put reflective tape on the inside on the door panels ..it's cheap and it made sense to me even when you're not stuck in silt..you have to get out at some point.
 

AZ7000'

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If you are racing through silt trying not to get stuck at night the only thing reflective tape will do is draw your eye to what you are about to hit in less then a second. Still gonna hit them/it. Honestly and most know it, you can’t see out of the cab/drivers compartment in the worst spots, aka where people get stuck.

I think it is the most dangerous part of off road racing.


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