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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate long thank you speaches at late-night year-end banquets, but I now want to take the time to officially thank EVERYONE involved in making the inaugural NASA series such a big success. To those who have yet to try out NASA, you need to give it a try. It is like the organizers applied Buffum's Maine Rally mantra "We always enjoy ourselves" to a whole series. Kudos go out to John, Kendall, Ivan, Olga, Charles, Jean-Georges, etc., etc. The competitors are among the most friendly I have ever been around, and we had a great and competitive season. I am even starting to get to like a few of the Irish guys. ;^)

Many probably don't know the hoops Ivan and Olga had to jump through to put Rally New York USA together in the timeframe available to them. I thought the mix of roads and the compact course was terrific, and I am really sorry about all those cones I destroyed!

We all learn from every incident, and in this event I learned about Red Crosses. While it still remains a mystery how the ambulance responded so quickly to Meegan's crash, we were the first to catch up to it on the course. At first we were dumbfounded, as it displayed no flashing lights, and didn't appear to be moving too quickly (we caught up to it in a hurry). Upon reaching the scene, with the co-driver in the fetal position on the ground, the road blocked, and the crash site blind to the cars approaching downhill at speed, we decided to immediately display the red cross. After all, the stage was at that point over, and we needed to get the cars to STOP, not just slow down. Although the ambulance had been dispatched, the start control obviously didn't get the message, and for the next 17 minutes, cars continued down the stage at speed. What amazed me was the number of drivers that seemed to not recognize the red cross, or know what to do. Several seemed to just plain ignore me in the middle of the road risking life and limb, only to zoom by with foot firmly planted. I suspect it just takes a few moments to get out of "driving mode" into "thinking mode", as we had similar cognitive difficulties when we first saw the ambulance ahead of us. Several competitors reacted instantaneously, Tim Meyer and Paul Kelbel among them. The lesson I learned was to consider ahead of time what you will do when you encounter a red cross on stage. Rehearse in your mind that potential, and you will be able to just react.

Jeff Field
 

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Driver reaction to a red cross display is super simple

see red cross--right foot OFF gas--left foot brake HARD and NOW

What's to practice?

My reaction to the scene, after seeing you in road braving your hiney to stop oncoming cars (not an insignificant job, after a series of fast downhill bends and over a crest) was to do the above, coast to a stop, and go, "awww, sheeet, not again."

Glad to hear that the injuries were not as bad as the car looked.

Dave G
P2 Impreza #42


"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 

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codriveur
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Ivan and Olga and all of their support team and NASA deserve their own thread of thanks.

We where the 3rd from last car on the hot stage before it was shut down, looking in my notes we just came down a sweeping _L4 R5/ BigCr loose_ @ 2.492 mi. We saw the Red Cross while in the _L4/Cr 50_ @ 2.622. We went to the side road to slow and where waved over the crest @ 2.682 and joined the line of waiting competitors. The accident happened after the narrow combination that started @ 2.782.

We had plenty of time to get recognize call and react to the Red Flag that we saw.

I put all of the mileages and combinations in so people reading might know this was not exactly a tight section plus it was open with houses and lawns on both sides but it was down hill into a gully. I think all of it proves how fast and how far you have to go back. I'm sure you ran like hell but if you were in that gully after 2.682 and before the combination @ 2.782, I do not think anyone could have seen you until they where past you as the sight line I was using to navigate was past the straight and locked on the combination the next time we went through. If you even got that far I would be suprised and say you run as fast as you drive.:)

It should be stated that competitors and what looked like residents of the 2 houses and a few other spectators did a great job of getting to a spot up the stage that allowed us to react safely. (what Dave said)


Bernie
 

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>see red cross--right foot OFF gas--left foot brake HARD and
>NOW
>
>What's to practice?

You'd be surprised, but it doesn't appear that simple. When I red-crossed a stage at Oregon 2003, one or two drivers passed me without slowing, despite the fact that I was standing square up in the middle of the road with the red cross out.

It isn't trivial to change your focus from the road to an unexpected character waving a book.

- Christian

Bjorn Christian Edstrom
www.christianedstrom.com
 

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How did the ambulance get on the stage? How did they know they were needed? Why did they keep sending cars? How is the NASA Red Cross procedure supposed to work?
If I understand the SCCA Red Cross procedure correctly. If the ambulance is dispatched from a stage mid-point location they would pull up to the stage road, turn on thier flashing lights, display a red cross and stop the next competitor. Once the next competitor stops they have them display the red cross and stop the rest of the competitors, while they go down the stage to the accident site.
Do NASA events have documented Safety Plans that they follow?
 

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I'm not sure, but however the ambulance knew, I'd like to see a marshal near the ambulance that can display the red cross to stop any competitors while the ambulance makes it's way down the stage.

Anyone else think marshals or workers should be trained on and equipped with red crosses? Something reflective would be nice too since I've had to stand in the road before in the pitch black to stop cars.

Peter
 

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Jeff, I believe your call to display the red cross was absolutely correct! I've worked emergency services at a national level in roadracing for many years in addition to driving. At a contained environment on a roadracing circuit, emergency assistance is never more than 45 seconds away. For us, in a performance rally environment, our likely next emergency assistance is 60 seconds behind us, then the time it takes to get to a radio for professional emergency service.

I believe that all of us count on each other for emergency assistance. In my view, when in doubt about about the well-being of a fellow competitor, take the red cross display approach.

Thanks again for getting all the way up the hill in a very visible position!

Tim Meyer...............................ToeJaM Racing
 

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>I'm not sure, but however the ambulance knew, I'd like to
>see a marshal near the ambulance that can display the red
>cross to stop any competitors while the ambulance makes it's
>way down the stage.

We were spectating at the ambulance location and it seemed as though word came in that they were needed and just took off. At that point someone (I believe it was one of the marshals.) did display the red cross. Several of the cars coming through slowed down, but quite a few just kept right on going.
 

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Four tree two remember Andrew
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>>I'm not sure, but however the ambulance knew, I'd like to
>>see a marshal near the ambulance that can display the red
>>cross to stop any competitors while the ambulance makes it's
>>way down the stage.
>
>We were spectating at the ambulance location and it seemed
>as though word came in that they were needed and just took
>off. At that point someone (I believe it was one of the
>marshals.) did display the red cross. Several of the cars
>coming through slowed down, but quite a few just kept right
>on going.

Folks:

This is accurate. The ambulance was sent from mid-point based upon a radio call. The cars should have been stopped or have gone by the mid-point location before the ambulance was put on course. There were some communication issues, and things did not work out as they were supposed to.

All NASA Rally Sport events are run under a comprehensive safety plan. This should not have happened. It did. So, we now are working to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Regards,

Wilson von Kessler
Chief Safety Officer, Rally New York USA
General Counsel/Risk Manager, NASA Rally Sport
 

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don't cut
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>
>This is accurate. The ambulance was sent from mid-point
>based upon a radio call. The cars should have been stopped
>or have gone by the mid-point location before the ambulance
>was put on course. There were some communication issues, and
>things did not work out as they were supposed to.
>
>>
>Wilson von Kessler
>Chief Safety Officer, Rally New York USA
>General Counsel/Risk Manager, NASA Rally Sport

Out of curiosity, what does the NASA safety plan call for in this situation? For that matter, what does the SCCA/RA plan call for as well? As a competitor subjecting myself to potential serious injury I would want to know that the ambulance was dispatched immediately, keeping the following in mind:

1. Catching an ambulance while at speed would essentially be no different than catching a crippled or slowed car at speed. This happens all the time and doesn't seem to be a safety issue.

2. As witnessed at LSPR this year, it can take a LOOOONNNNGGGG time to get a stage stopped. Add in two minute intervals, and the time it takes to reach midpoint on a long stage, and we might be looking at 15 or twenty minutes for active cars to clear midpoint.



BTW, on the issue of marshalls holding red crosses. Thanks to guys like Jerry Winker standing on the inside of tricky corners taking pics and whatnot, I've more or less trained myself to ignore anybody who isn't physically in the road, and/or wearing a driving suit and helmet. So if someone in plain clothes is standing next to the road waiving something, chances are I will not register what it is, even if it is a red cross. And forget the codriver. With notes these guys never see anything. Is there a better way for plain clothes marshalls to get our attention in an emergancy? Flares, cones, rocks in the windshield....?

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845

Ps. Upon rereading my post, I want to make something clear. I'm not knocking the safety plans, especially since I don't yet know how they handle the above situations. I'm sure they are well thought out. Just didn't want the hard working organizers and officials to get the wrong idea.
 

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codriveur
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And forget the codriver. With notes
>these guys never see anything.

>Dennis Martin
>[email protected]
>920-432-4845


As I stated above WE; meaning me the co-driver and my driver, saw the RC @ the same time. In fact I was thinking about it earlier and I'm sure we called it together.

I don't know what your co-drivers do physically but I find that I reflexively look up on almost every 50, 70, 100, etc. to check my own place in the notes, road conditions, and stuff like Red Crosses.

Maybe they need to change the color so the cross doesn't blend in with the mist.:+

Bernie
 

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>BTW, on the issue of marshalls holding red crosses. Thanks
>to guys like Jerry Winker standing on the inside of tricky
>corners taking pics and whatnot, I've more or less trained
>myself to ignore anybody who isn't physically in the road,
>and/or wearing a driving suit and helmet. So if someone in
>plain clothes is standing next to the road waiving
>something, chances are I will not register what it is, even
>if it is a red cross. And forget the codriver. With notes
>these guys never see anything. Is there a better way for
>plain clothes marshalls to get our attention in an
>emergancy? Flares, cones, rocks in the windshield....?

I've stood in the *middle* of the road on a straightaway flailing my arms like hell. I make sure I can be seen for a while and have time to move if the driver does not slow. People on the sides aren't seen, even when I tried watching when I rode in a car once. I found myself looking down the road.

Maybe big ol' red flags like they use at autocross events? All you'd need is fabric, staples, and a stick.

Pete
 

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Yes. I cant tell the difference between a spectator and a marshal from my peripheral vision. I can tell people are beside the road but my focus is on the road. A red cross in their hand isnt going to get my attention, and truth be told what is to keep an ornery spectator from whipping out a red cross or whatever is used for emergenies just for fun. The marshals expected to halt cars need to wear some form of official (and bright colored) garb to differentiate themselves from spectators so we at least know who we might need to pay attention to, and hold up something pretty much in the drivers line of sight. The marshals for hillclimbs in our area use a red flag, which is effective. Since there are no spectators, only marshals on the hillclimbs, the clothing there isnt important.

Now that I have driven one I am acting like I am a freakin' expert...
 

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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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RE: seeing Red

Funny you should mention a red flag 'cause there was one at the intersection I was approaching and it was straight ahead, couldn't miss it and the fellow with it was looking to his right toward the road ahead, not me.
When I got closer, he pulled it and I went by.
I then saw dust and then Jeff Field's car - he had just hit a tree and continued.
I'd say that these were two situations that were better handled than any I'd been near before, problem or not. A step forward rather than back.
rz
 

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>BTW, on the issue of marshalls holding red crosses. Thanks
>to guys like Jerry Winker standing on the inside of tricky
>corners taking pics and whatnot, I've more or less trained
>myself to ignore anybody who isn't physically in the road,
>and/or wearing a driving suit and helmet. ...

With the growing use of prepared notes and recce, drivers can no longer rely on their codrivers to notice things. Drivers must now become fully responsible for observing red crosses and triangles, and it really is completely unacceptable to ignore these. You're not sure if it was really a red cross? Stop and make sure! Similarly, a single triangle may mean a complete blockage of the road. Keeping your foot planted until you're sure is not an acceptable response, no matter how tight the championship is.

Race drivers have always had to deal with a wide variety of different coloured flag signals, at the same time as concentrating on the track and keeping track of other competitors ahead, beside and behind them. Race drivers aren't allowed to ignore flags because they're too focussed on the road.

The culture of rally has to change, so that drivers take on this responsibility. You can no longer assume that the co-driver will handle this.

As for making it easier to distinguish marshals from spectators or photographers, one thing that CARS did about 5 years ago was to make marshal vests for every event in the country. This makes it easier to tell if that person at the side of the road waving a red cross at you is an official.
 

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Dennis Wrote:

>Out of curiosity, what does the NASA safety plan call for in
>this situation? For that matter, what does the SCCA/RA plan
>call for as well? As a competitor subjecting myself to
>potential serious injury I would want to know that the
>ambulance was dispatched immediately, keeping the following
>in mind:
>

I can't speak for all of the SCCA events, but the LOL region events have operated under the plan below for the last several years.

All medically staffed midpoints are provided with a large red cross (24" x 24" same size as a standard control sign). In the event they are dispatched to an incident reported further into the stage than their location, they are to display the red cross prominently to the next vehicle entering their location and stop that competitor. They then are to turn over the red-cross to this competitor crew and proceed to the incident. This competitor crew is to park safely, turn on their hazards and continue to display the red-cross and stop any additional cars that have been started into the stage behind them.

I can not recall if the proceedures have been tested during competition on LOL events.

Brad
 

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When I did the Red Cross at LSPR, it was night, I was on a straight, standing towards the middle of the road in my suit and helmet. One car blew past me and continued on, two cars went past me, then stopped and reversed and the other twelve or so stopped.

alan
 

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straight at T
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>1. Catching an ambulance while at speed would essentially be
>no different than catching a crippled or slowed car at
>speed. This happens all the time and doesn't seem to be a
>safety issue.

The difference is that the ambulance isn't likely going to be looking out behind (as a crippled or slowed rally car should be), and probably is going slower than even a wounded rally car, so the speed differential is much higher - consider if you were coming through a blind 5 and found an ambulance travelling at, say, 20mph and taking up the entire road.

The safety procedures that I've worked with require control of the road (either stopping cars or ensuring that the last car started has passed the location) before deploying any non-competition vehicle. The only exception I've seen is the STPR "tracker" cars, but I won't get into that discussion again.

As an aside, one of the things I carry in my codriver bag is a reflective red cross/ok sign.

Adrian
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just to be clear about my original post: I was not condemning the ambulance, the safety procedures, use of the red cross, etc. I think every thing worked just as it should have (with the exception of the cars continuing to start), but I wanted to remind several drivers that when you see a goofball like me standing in the MIDDLE of the road with a red cross, it just might be a good idea to stop. 'nuf said.

I was told afterwards that there was also a red cross displayed at the spectator area (where the ambulance was originally stationed) when I went by. If so, I didn't see it amongst the throngs of people (I don't look at the spectators). If it was displayed, I am not sure which spectators carry red crosses around, but 17 others must has missed it as well.

Jeff Field
 

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I like the idea of a reflective Red Cross for all marshalls or a reflective red cross and one of the triangles the competitors use ?
A triangle in the road is much better than a marshal in the road, and obviously drivers aren't seeing the red cross on the side of the road well enough.
 
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