The Rules of Professional Speeding
Speeding can be obnoxious and dangerous, but here’s how a pro does it right.
I’m a professional speeder. Which means I’m really good at it. It also means I’ve never been written a speeding ticket while observing the rules of this dangerous and irresponsible hobby. The secret to that old criminal’s code? If you break the law, you must follow the rules to the letter. And the general public doesn’t know the rules, so they fail even at casual speeding.
The thing is, I’m not against speeding. I’m against speeding by Vegas Rules, which is how amateurs speed—and gamble. You’re excited to do it. You think you know the rules. You have a rudimentary understanding of the odds, and yet you’re surprised when you go home disappointed. The average gambler is lucky he’s only betting money, because the average speeder is betting against a vastly more powerful house, blissfully assuming risks both financially costly and potentially fatal.
I’ve already ranted elsewhere about how modern cars have spoiled us. Forty years of improvements in automotive safety technology have brought accident fatalities to record lows, but, in a world where a new Camry can outrun a Ferrari 308 in a straight line and a 300hp Mustang cost less than $25k, speeding tickets will continue to fall like confetti on a hapless public.
The ubiquity of safety technologies and cheap performance has increased not only our confidence in driving far over the speed limit, but in walking away from the very accidents that are more likely to occur. The cycle of improvements feeds the average motorist directly into the maw of every law enforcement agency that - with every ticket and court fee - seeks only to exploit human psychology.
Speed traps. Speed Cameras. Laser guns. None of these exist to slow us down. These exist to generate revenue. Just like a casino. If the government wanted to enforce speed limits, cars would be mechanically or electronically restricted to the speed limit. That would have have been difficult twenty years ago, but has been increasingly possible with the advent of factory-installed GPS systems. It may still happen, but don’t count on it.
The explosion in speeding fines and court fees is a direct result of the average person’s inability to appeal or protest their victimization. Everything is stacked against you. Traffic court is a farce, and the AAA only nominally protects drivers’ interests. Driving isn’t a right. It’s a privilege. A privilege granted too easily, taxed incessantly, and often taken away without recourse. Traffic court isn’t like Law & Order. There’s no jury, appeals are nearly futile, and traffic lawyers are just the guys too lazy for ambulance chasing.
No matter how many times you play roulette, the odds are always the same. There’s a reason professional gamblers stick to poker. Skill can improve the odds, but, for those who don’t know how to play, they remain very, very poor. And most people don’t know how to play the game of speeding.
What Are The Rules Of Professional Speeding?
I don’t always get invitations to Charlie Sheen’s house, but when I do...OK, I’m lying. I was only invited once. I didn’t go. I knew better. But had I gone, I would have been prepared. As in TOTALLY prepared. As in 200mg-of-Viagra-snorting, gimme-all-your-ginseng-and-Vitamin C, where’s-my-leather-condom-with-double-latex-cladding prepared. I like a good party as much as you do. But what I like more is a great party I can go to twice.
Let’s apply this to driving. Nay, speeding. I mean real speeding. By that I mean 100+mph, because speeding less than 100mph gains you so little time it’s really not worth the effort. If you’re going to speed, you’ve got to make it worth your while.
Once you’re prepared, you might as well go all in.
Just the tip? You’re wasting your time.
Strap in, literally and figuratively, because the rules of real speeding require a total inversion of what most consider the act of driving. If anything worth doing is worth doing well, then anything that might cost you your life is worth doing not just well, but with an eye to perfection. Only by accepting all of these rules without hesitation should one ever get in a car and go faster than the flow of traffic.
I promise that if you follow these rules to the letter, you will be able to drive well north of 125mph all the time with a 90% reduction in speeding tickets. Until you are dead, or in jail, or choose to outgrow such nonsense:
- Sign up for the longest Skip Barber Racing School program you can afford. Two days minimum. Stop reading until you’ve done it. Oh, you’ve done it and still want to speed? Keep reading.
- Find a friend with excellent eyesight, and ask him to split the cost of a pair of Steiner 7x50 binoculars and a Kenyon KS-2 Gyro Stabilizer. Mount the latter to the former. If, between the two of you, you can’t afford the $2000 investment, quit now. If your friend won’t ride along with you to and from work every day, quit now.
- Make a list of all the people you value the most. Your kids? Wife? Husband? Mistress? Girlfriend? Lover? Write them each a goodbye letter and leave it at home, just in case. You might never see them again, even if you live. Conjugal visits suck, anyway. Not hot. Not hot.
- Make a list of your assets. The home you just paid off? Your business? Hire an estate attorney. And a tax attorney. Move your assets into an irrevocable trust. Or hire an offshore planner. Preferably Mitt Romney’s. Have him create the necessary shell companies, and move everything to the Cayman or Channel Islands. You’re going to want a windbreaker, should you ever get there.
- Tear out your car stereo. If you can’t or won’t, remove the fuse to the amplifier. Or get pliers and break off the volume knob. Oh, you like listening to music while speeding? Does Lewis Hamilton listen to music during qualifying? Don’t be an amateur. You want to drive fast? No more music for you. You need to be able to hear useful things, like your radar detector. And the CB you probably haven’t bought yet. Or the front tire when you hit a pothole or nail at 100+. Trust me. I’ve been there.
- Go into your phone settings and disable your text notifications. Better yet, turn it off then put it in the trunk. I’m serious. There’s only ONE reason to have a network connected device in the passenger compartment of a car, and that’s for Waze, Escort Live or V1 integration. Don’t know what those are? You’ve got a problem. Buy an iPad with Verizon access (NOT AT&T) and a professional mount with a metal arm. Set up your Waze account on it.
- Buy the new Escort Max 360 or a Valentine V1. Then buy the Escort or AL Priority laser jammers. Have everything professionally installed. You’re a few grand in now, and you’re not even close to done.
- Do you have an SUV or crossover? Sell it. Light trucks have a radar cross-section 4-8 times bigger than a sedan or coupe. What’s a radar cross section? Roughly, it’s how big your vehicle appears as a target for police radar guns. Very roughly. Light trucks are also enormous targets for police laser guns. More metal means more reflectivity. Optics is a harsh mistress. Be smart. You still want to speed in your SUV? Physics is also a harsh mistress. Google “center of gravity.” NO SUV will ever have the handling of a great sedan or coupe. Cayenne good? 911 better. You can throw 10,000 horsepower in a houseboat, but it’s still a houseboat. And a big target.
- Is your car red, yellow, orange, purple or bright blue? Sell it. Or wrap it in black. Or grey. Or silver. Is it white? That might work in the winter. Just ask the Germans who tried to ride to Moscow. They almost made it. Almost.
- Never speed in the summer. Ever. Too many cops. Also, never speed in the winter. Even with snow tires. Even if you’ve gone to Team O’Niel’s Rally School. Which you should anyway.
- Tailgating is for amateurs.
- Remove all bumper stickers from the car.
- Change any vanity plates to generic/random numbers/letters. Don’t be an idiot.
- Window tinting? Like jazz, if you have to ask...
- If your car doesn’t already have Brembos on it, buy their Big Brake Kit. Front and rear. $4,000-$8,000. Enjoy.
- If your car doesn’t already have Z-rated tires, buy four. I like Michelin Pilot Sports PS2 ZPs. $1,400, mounted. I use Tire Rack. They didn’t pay me to say that, but they should.
- Even if you have a gun permit, leave your gun at home.
- Move to a state that doesn’t have point reciprocity, like New York State. You may now speed outside your home state without points transferring back to your license. Unfortunately, you must also NEVER speed in your home state. EVER.
I told you so. These rules make casual speeding a lot less casual and no fun at all. But professional speeding isn’t a hobby. It’s a dangerous and illegal sport. The number of people who take it seriously in this country is probably under one thousand. Now you can see why. The barrier to entry, on a financial and behavioral level, is very, very high.
If you still want to speed, there’s much more one can do, and study, or buy, but this is a good start. Not including a new car, you’re now at about $30,000 invested. Those are the basics, not including the man-hours required to learn and practice how to safely and effectively use all your new hardware and software. Conventional wisdom suggests that any complex skill can be learned in 10,000 hours. Tim Ferriss says it can be done faster. I took him cross-country once. He got out halfway. I don’t think even he could have learned it faster. For a guy who knows eleven forms of martial arts and can pick a lock with his bare hands, he didn’t seem to enjoy professional speeding. But that was seven years ago. I know I can’t do what he does.
But I know how to do this.
In ten years of professional speeding, I have not received a single speeding ticket over hundreds of thousands of miles of 100+mph driving. I’ve received tickets, but only as a result of casually ignoring one or more of these rules. I was distracted. I was listening to music. I was arguing with my ex. I was texting. I deserved each and every one of them.
Even if you follow all of these rules, there’s still one more thing to consider.
When Does Speeding Make Sense?
There are only TWO times speeding makes sense:
- A medical emergency, in which case you should drive as fast as you can. Hopefully your traffic stop will turn into a police escort. If it does, and if you were transporting your wife because she’s in labor, name your newborn after the cop, or his/her mother.
- You’re trying to set or break a looooong-distance driving record. Anything over one thousand miles counts. If you must do this, you should only do it once. It’s work. It’s exhausting. And for 99.99% of us, unnecessary. Make that 100%.
How To Stay Safe
For the record, I only speed 1-2 days a year. Seriously. The rest of the time I drive like an old man losing his eyesight. Sometimes I go to the track. Track driving is the best inoculation to irresponsible driving on public roads there is. For most. If the government made that part of Driver’s ED, our world would be a better, safer place. But that will never happen.
I’m just like you. I love listening to music, and talking. And sightseeing. Speeding makes it hard to take in your surroundings. I still love driving at almost any speed, except when I’m stuck in traffic. If you do too, then keep your license clean, buy a Morgan, a Miata, or an old 911, or pretty much anything that’s fun and loud, and use it on weekends. In the country. As far as possible from people and traffic. You might get a ticket every few years, but if you must, better to get one on a spirited country road while enjoying your car than on the way to work.
Fifteen miles over on the interstate?
That’s just the tip.
Alex Roy is the author of the LiveDriveRepeat blog and is really proud of coining the phrase “Autonomotive Singularity.” Roy is President of Europe By Car, the founder of Team Polizei, Editor-at-Large for The Drive and author of The Driver - which depicts his 2006 NY-LA Transcontinental Driving Record, accomplished in 31 hours and 4 minutes. He also the Producer of The Great Chicken Wing Hunt & 32 Hours 7 Minutes, was Chairman of The Moth from 2002-2007, won The Ultimate Playboy on Sky One, has competed in LeMons & the Baja 1000, and holds a variety of driving records which must still remain secret.