As race season gets into gear, one of the most important ways to maximize your next outing at the track is to avoid a trip to the First Aid tent.
From staving off heat exhaustion by wearing light-colored clothing to avoiding crash injuries, heed these three simple tips.
1. Stay hydrated.
As many races occur when weather deals its hottest months of the year, it’s important to drink drink as much cool (not cold) water as possible. Drinking extremely cold water is like getting a brain freeze from a Slurpee. Drink at frequent intervals, keeping in mind the minute you think you need a drink is when you should stop and take the drink. Experts say that in extreme heat, you should drink between two and four glasses of water each hour (roughly 16 to 32 ounces).
Also, avoid alcoholic and sugary beverages, which can exacerbate dehydration.
2. Apply sunscreen and find some shade.
With average NASCAR races lasting anywhere from three to four hours, it’s important to not spend that entire time out in the sun. Instead, seek shade for at least 15 minutes on the hour. Also, wearing light-colored clothing can help keep your body temperature down, too.
For more tips on beating the heat, check out the Centers for Disease Control’s tips.
3. Be wary of potential crashes—and where you sit.
In February, 28 Nascar spectators were injured the day before the Daytona 500. The incident happened when driver Kyle Larsen’s car went airborne and slammed into the catch fence, the chain link fence that separates racers from spectators.
And from 1990 to 2012, 46 spectator fatalities occurred at motor sports, according to an analysis by the Charlotte Observer -- though none occurred at an actual NASCAR event.
Since then, NASCAR has taken greater precaution to protect fans, such as keeping fans farther from the catch fence and looking at being more involved, much like what it did requiring impact-absorbing SAFER barriers along concrete walls. NASCAR is using outside safety experts and engineers to look at the fencing. Daytona will also have its expert sources analyze what may need to be done.
You can do yourself a favor by avoiding sitting too close to the track, where the majority of the most serious racing injuries occur (a rudimentary rule of thumb: February’s crash threw a tire 45 rows deep into the stands).