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An Anti-Stick Spray To Stop Boy Racers?

There’s a small part of most drivers that sympathises with boy racers. However, this small part tends to become miniscule to non-existent when you’re kept awake into the wee small hours by screaming engines on what is normally a quiet suburban (or rural) road, when you have to pick up debris left behind after the local boy racers have had a meeting, or when you’ve had a close call with a souped-up Subaru Impreza racing an equally souped-up Nissan Skyline.

However, they may have found a solution to this problem on the other side of the Tasman, where one local council, fed up by complaints, has decided to try spraying the roads with an anti-skid spray surface that increases the traction. This, they hope, will stop boy racers (and girl racers – let’s call them street racers from now on) having their competitions that involve skidding and loss of traction, which, as far as I can tell, tends to cover most of their antics.

Certainly, having a high-traction anti-skid spray on the road will discourage dangerous skidding. It will also help cut down on burnouts (which are usually more annoying than dangerous unless a handbrake gives way unexpectedly). The only snag is that these surfaces will make drag races easier, as all that extra grip would make for better acceleration.

This spray is not some new invention that this town council has dreamed up. Instead, it’s something that’s often used on highways in areas where more traction is needed, like tight corners. These sprays are also used in urban areas on approaches to pedestrian crossings, where cars are likely to stop suddenly.  According to Austroads, such sprays and coatings use binders modified by polyurethane and epoxy, and they are best applied to very clean and slightly worn asphalt surfaces. They’re used around the world. The only reason why roading authorities don’t use them on all parts of the road is that they are quite expensive to apply (they require a lot of prep and can only be applied to a perfectly clean and dry surface) and take a long time to cure.

Is there any place that these street racers can go to do fun manoeuvres like doughnuts, snakies and skids without risking their own necks or the necks of others? I’ve come across the solution in rural communities, where paddock racing is fairly popular. Paddock racing is fully legal, although the cars used for this bit of fun are usually ones that have been taken off the road. Ideally, paddock racing should be done on a nice wet field that’s due for ploughing and reseeding. As an added bonus, all those moves tend to spray up mud in a very satisfactory fashion – although attempts at burnouts tend to end up digging holes and getting stuck (and everybody laughs). Perhaps we could make use of vacant sections in towns?

However, many of those in the street racing scene get a buzz out of defying authority and because they tend to trick out their cars to look good – which doesn’t suit the mud. Therefore, we’ll still have to put up with late-night engine revving mixed with heavy bass speakers (at least we get an audible warning to watch out for street racers). It remains to be seen whether the attempt to stop street racing by applying high-traction surface treatments will be successful – but at least it’s less intrusive to the majority of road users than measures such as speed bumps and the like.