Drive Safe! Do Not Pass, Do Not Get Killed

How important is it to NOT pass vehicles on Route 447 while driving to or from Black Rock City? Well, rather than our telling you, let’s ask Leslie, who has particular experience in this department: “I was struck head-on by a person passing and my car was left three feet shorter. I suffered unbelievable pain, spent time in a wheelchair and in physical rehabilitation as the result of his one bad choice to pass. Much of what was good in my life has been taken from me as a result.”

What’s the risk? She’ll tell ya:

Please, while driving to and from the event do not pass AT ALL between the freeway and the event. Passing simply isn’t safe and can lead to fatal head-on collisions. Full-size 18 wheelers regularly use these roads and go the opposite directions from the main traffic at high speeds; they are not watching out for you at all.

You simply cannot count on other drivers in a long line of cars bumper to bumper leaving Burning Man to hang back and let you back into the line when an oncoming vehicle is coming at you head-on at 55-85 mph. The delay for just not passing and patiently following the car in front of you may be only a few additional minutes. The cost of passing may be your life.

Besides, when everyone is in a line to leave Burning Man it is just selfish and pointless to pass an entire line of cars as if they didn’t want to go faster. We all have to put up with slowly leaving the playa.

One year while leaving Burning Man I saw a catastrophic accident as the result of someone passing. I’ve also seen numerous near misses that would have resulted in severe head-on collisions, some with full size 18 wheelers going over 40 mph, that would have killed everyone in the car.

Many people who go to Burning Man just do not understand or appreciate the risk.

Thanks for reading, and taking care out there. We prefer our Burners alive, thank you.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, then transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009 to become Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He's the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Voices of Burning Man blog, and content manager for Burning Man’s websites. He also manages the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social networking efforts.

6 thoughts on “Drive Safe! Do Not Pass, Do Not Get Killed

  • That’s all good advice. But after a week of “Burning Man”, once I finally get in my car, it’s like a weight has been lifted. I get really tired of being friendly to every scumbag and drama queen that stumbles into camp.

    It’s fun for a while, but man – at the end of the week, these people can taste the heel of my boot. I’m out of there!

    So if I’m passing you on the shoulder, it’s only because I can’t stand you being in my field of view one minute longer than it takes to almost run you off the road. Let’s face it – you pretty much deserve it.

    See you next year.

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  • Seriously, what is the point?
    If you can see that there are possibly miles of empty road in front of that vehicle ahead, then it could be worth it, however, leaving, or arriving at BRC for that matter, you know that the road is one long cluster fuck caravan all the way to I-80. You are stuck in it no matter how often you choose to put yourself and others at risk.
    Chillax, and when you get to I-80 keep right except when passing, and enjoy.

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  • If it’s night time, and especially on the way in please ignore the two above yahoos. Very bad accidents and near misses happen constantly. Police patrol these roads and Nevada state police are not the nicest fellows in the world. They’re looking for burners to lock up.

    On the way in you literally will not get there any sooner by passing. You will only catch the next car ahead and the car you passed will catch up. Don’t tail gate! It’s going to take you a long time to get in unless you’re coming midweek. Drive safely. An accident can block the road and make things a lot worse than losing 20 minutes. Remember, once you’re on you leave your house you’re on journey has begun. Enjoy the ride. There isn’t a rush. Hanging out with the people around you in line can be a lot of fun.

    And Californians, they put turn signals on cars for a reason. Might wanna google it or something so you know how they work.

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  • Kendrick . . .
    This “yahoo” was talking about passing as a general subject in the first part. It is worth it in the wide open spaces. 447 is NOT the wide open spaces during the event. The latter part was an attempt to reason that when accessing BRC, then it is a fool’s errand to pass. I am sorry my writing was apparently vague on this.

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  • Hey, don’t go all holier than thou and tell me not to pass when I’m stuck behind some overloaded hippy school bus that’s only firing two bio-fueled cylinders and can’t do 35 going downhill with a tailwind. I can see there’s miles of open road in front of them, and the their home built single axle trailer is fish tailing I’m safer risking a pass when I’ve got adequate sight lines than I am waiting for them to dump their load on my front bumper when the bald tire finally blows.

    So I’ll pass when it’s appropriate damn it.

    But don’t be stupid, passing on a blind curve or hill crest when you want to do 57 and the solid line of traffic in front of you is doing 55 is just asking for Darwin to select you out of the gene pool. And please, for chrissake if you must do that, don’t take some poor innocent with you in the ensuing head-on, just bail for the opposite shoulder and enjoy the ride as you roll yourself into the tumbleweeds!

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