By on July 1, 2013

Jack Baruth is no stranger to driving fast on public roads, and he’s not afraid to go public with his exploits. Over at Road & Track, our man JB reflects on some of his own mis-adventures while pondering the death of Giorgi Tvezadze, the Georgian fellow who became YouTube famous for his own dangerous driving stunts behind the wheel of a BMW E34 M5. As far as I’m concerned, a guy like this is better off dead. But Jack has a much more eloquent take on things, while managing to weave in references to Hume and DeNiro.

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55 Comments on “Baruth On Reckless Driving, Part 3.8...”

  • avatar

    From the article:
    ” At best, I could say I’d done it and have no proof of the deed; at worst, I could have wound up in prison or dead.”

    That’s actually NOT the worst outcome, not by a long shot. The worst outcome is some poor schmuck you happen to be sharing the road with ends up dead.

    • 0 avatar

      This, this, a thousand times this. At least if you’re going to die doing this, have the good sense and moral fiber to wrap yourself around a tree rather than T-boning a minivan carrying a family of six.

    • 0 avatar

      I must revoke your egocentric universe card.

    • 0 avatar

      “at worst, I could have wound up in prison or dead.”

      Dead is dead. Far worse, to my mind, is spending the rest of your life in a dirty diaper is some MEDICAID funded nursinghome due to your permanent and profound disablity.

    • 0 avatar

      Read the sentence in context. He was answering the question “Why did I think it was cool to do that stuff?”, reflecting on his own perspective, asking what was in it for him. While acknowledging the danger to others “on crowded public roads” (and I’m pretty sure that “going to prison” was a reference to hurting or killing others – you don’t generally go to prison for speeding or reckless driving – jail perhaps, but prison usually means a felony), from an individual standpoint, the worst that can happen is to lose your liberty or your life.

      The truth, though, is that most people don’t answer “how could I have been so dumb?” questions by thinking about how their behavior impacts others but rather on how that behavior impacts their own lives.

      The complete paragraph:

      “Why did I think it was cool to do that stuff? I never thought to ask. It seemed self-evident. Fifteen years later, I can look back and take a more measured approach to the question. Is there anything inherently, intrinsically cool about driving full throttle on crowded public roads? The results of that behavior certainly weren’t cool. At best, I could say I’d done it and have no proof of the deed; at worst, I could have wound up in prison or dead.”

  • avatar

    On my drives from just new York to New Jersey, I can count AT LEAST 200 people who are texting. They are extremely easy to spot because #1 they don’t seem to drive aggressively enough or defensively enough and #2 their eyes seem to be glued to their lap.

    I got REAR ENDED at a stop by a jerkoff who was texting in his POS Honda and I sued him an won.

    Now, my strategy is to stay so far ahead of others that they can’t possibly rear end me.

    At least SPEEDERS have to actually pay attention to the road. Tests have shown that even drunk drivers aren’t as dangerous as texters.

    Now I know what you’re gonna say:

    How can someone who drives around in a supercharged BEAST on roads populated by lesser 4-cylinders and V6’s, pulling quarter miles in the time it takes some cars to get from 0 -60, talk about “public safety”.

    Well – you’re just gonna have to figure that one out for yourselves.

    Texting, drunk driving, speeding, driving while OLD, driving while tired, motorcyles (donorcycles) driving while diabetic and driving on medication all carry a risk – a probability of failure. A diabetic bus driver on the Q7 passed out and wrecked half the block not far away from here. I know 2 motorcyclists who’ve died.

    I speed, but I keep following distances, I never EVER drive intoxicated and I don’t ever text while driving. I only cross solid lines if forced to by road hazards and I always do so carefully with my “flash to pass” lights.

  • avatar

    “He swerved through vehicles, split lanes, and often swung out to zip through oncoming traffic at closing speeds.”

    Don’t closing speeds have to be quantified, or at least qualified, for this clause to have much meaning? When I pull out to pass on a two-lane and there is oncoming traffic on the horizon, there are closing speeds involved, but they don’t necessarily create any danger provided I’ve judged them and the time I have to complete the pass accurately.

    In spite of Jack’s use of closing speeds and failure to identify that most of us think the worst outcome involves living with having harmed others through a selfish and pointless act, I thought he made many good points that I would have done well to listen to as a young driver. I’m pretty sure that many people actually made such points at the time, but they were easily dismissed as fuddy-duddyism of the most boring sort. Participation in legal motorsport held plenty of appeal then too, but it wasn’t as accessible as simply driving like an idiot.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Were the local Dunkin’ Donuts having free donut hour during this time? not one single cop to be seen anywhere!!

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    That wasn’t reckless driving. It was knowingly unsafe and an extremely stupid act given the surrounding environment.

    My biggest issues with things like this is that normal safe speeding (i.e. safely traveling 85 in a 70 when nobody is around, lines of sight are clear, and no cross traffic exists [highway]) is lumped into the same category as this jackass.

    • 0 avatar

      EXACTLY. There’s nothing wrong with 150 on a straightway if you’re in a left lane and the roads are pristine.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I wouldn’t say that.
        BY mentioning left lane, I must assume there are people in the right lane. If so, they are probably doing half your speed, which makes 150 reckless. Now, if by “left lane” you mean the road is clear of traffic and it really doesn’t matter what lane you are in, then fine. But add to it a well maintained car with properly rated, inflated and inspected tires.

        • 0 avatar

          Not at all. Not unusual in Germany to be doing 2X the speed of the cars and trucks you are passing. Those people need to not pull out in front of YOU as well.

          • 0 avatar


            “You have attempted to impede me.
            Now you must die.”

          • 0 avatar

            People need to check their mirrors in all countries.

            I have learned though, that it is invariably the slow that will neglect to check for traffic or correctly signal, so that makes the truly incompetent easy to spot.

          • 0 avatar

            “People need to check their mirrors in all countries.”


            But pretending that aggressive dorks in fast cars have the same priority and road rights as emergency vehicles is criminal arrogance.

            Guess that’s why it flies in Germany.

          • 0 avatar
            George Herbert

            In an environment where it’s considered unsafe for someone to pass you at 20 mph over slower lane traffic, people will adopt mirror checks that won’t give adequate warning if they’re about to pull in front of vehicles coming past at 50 mph or 100 mph faster.

            The US is such an environment.

            The Autobahn demonstrates that it is possible to create environments where etiquette and safety work for higher speeds, but that’s not US freeways. If you drive here and try passing at 50 mph faster than traffic you will collect the rear end of someone’s car sooner or later, and it will be your fault, not theirs.

          • 0 avatar

            If you’re going 50 mph more than the other guy, assuming he is already going 50 mph or faster, then you’re still deemed partially at-fault in Germany for “increased operating danger”.

            Given Federal regulations only requires survivability at 30 mph closing speeds and testing is done between 35-40 mph, maintaining a closing speed of 20 mph or less is just plain common-sense.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    From the article, I will assume that when JB says “full throttle” on the street, he means driving at 9/10+.
    Full throttle can be used very safely in many passing situations. Heck I give my car full throttle almost daily on certain on ramps to ensure I can safely merge with traffic going 70 after an 1/8 mile on-ramp.

    • 0 avatar

      I full throttle all of my 122 screaming ponies every day because:

      #1 I drive a cube and to merge safely you must place the pedal to the carpet.

      #1.5 Because CVT

      #2 Recall I mentioned I’m in a cube? NO ONE want’s to let a cube merge so I need to carry enough velocity to ensure other drivers do not have any other choice.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Ha ha!

      • 0 avatar

        Sounds familiar to me.

        My first car was an automatic Volvo 240. Totally gutless, and didn’t earn a lot of respect. I was generally one of the faster cars on the road, because I had to carry enough momentum to make a pass half a mile ahead of time.

        Several years and four cars later, I’ve got a manual Saab. It can actually get out of its own way, and I’ve gotten most of the ‘let’s see what it can do’ out of my system. (The last time I broke 100 – even 90, for that matter – was down a hill on a deserted evening interstate in my last car, a manual 240, right after I bought it and checked it over, to prove that it could do what my first car couldn’t.) I have no idea what the Saab’s capable of, aside from being surprisingly smooth at typical Massachusetts highway speeds, and I’m okay with that for now. These days, I mostly drive for economy, which admittedly means having a fair bit of fun in the twisties ‘because I had the momentum already’, but generally just means rolling along just over the average speed of traffic.

        Honestly, it may seem odd, but the number-one thing that cut down my average speed was having a direct link to the speed of the engine through a manual gearbox… for whatever that’s worth. I just take it easier more often.

    • 0 avatar

      What a pile of poopoo. I drive 114 hp Volvo 240 in NY tristate area. Never ever ever have I had the need to use full throttle, for any reason. Nor have I ever had a problem merging safely.

  • avatar

    If the author could describe unsafe driving such an “eqloquent” way than maybe we would appreciate speeding in the private sector when children are most likely occupying the neighboring vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      I am not sure if you’re intentionally alluding to something, but if not, the author actually HAS a series of articles describing exactly this. It was about 4 years ago, so perhaps this is a reflection on that. I try not to judge based on that, though, as a lot can change in that amount of time, no matter how old you are.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    There are also many Russian urban daredevil videos of motorcyclists driving their Hayabusas at over 190 mi/hr.

    Must be something related to their Vodka.

  • avatar

    Terrorism is “the systematic use of terror, often violent, especially as a means of coercion.”

    Coercion is “is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force, and describes a set of various different similar types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response.”

    This guy was a terrorist, and his BMW was his weapon, his means of coercing people into…I don’t know…recognizing his greatness? Maybe for no reason.

    He forced hundreds of other drivers to act in an involuntary manner through the threat of his BMW plowing into and killing them if they didn’t make way.

    In a sane country with an organized, impartial, and uncorrupt police force, he would have been deprived of his weapon through the impounding of his car, and any and all credentials that gave him the right to drive on public roads would have been revoked. Russia is not that country.

    I myself can see the “fun” in these videos, but I cannot simply go “LOL RUSSIA”. I don’t consider Russian lives to be of any less worth than American lives, or my own.

    He apparently didn’t give a s**t about anyone, or himself.

    They just happened to be unlucky enough to live in a country that can’t/won’t protect them from vehicular terrorists like this guy.

    Fortunately they did luck out; as far as we know, he never actually killed anyone while on his joyrides, and he died before he could.

    He had no regard for his life or the lives of anyone else in his way. I’m glad he didn’t take anyone with him on his way off the mortal coil.

    Perhaps he’s finally found peace in the afterlife, because he didn’t seem to have any while he was alive, judging by the recklessness of his driving.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      By your definition all criminals are terrorists. Which is fine, but it kinda defeats the meaning of the word as we know it. But then again, the gov can slap additional yrs on any sentence because it’s a terrorist act. Good way to fill for profit prisons.

      • 0 avatar

        Not really. I see two things that separate a typical criminal from a terrorist: “systematic” and the intended goal.

        Despite what we see on TV, crimes are generally opportunistic and committed for immediate personal gain, not as part of a bigger plan or system. Conversely, the terrorist’s goal is the coercion itself.

  • avatar

    Mad driving skill it looks like .

    _ZERO_ margin for error when some regular Citizen makes a wrong move or panics trying to get away from the speeding madman .


  • avatar

    Jack is right, this sort of thing angers the anti-car crowd… And to be fair, rightly so…

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Okay, there’s no denying that the guy has skills. But he’s also a major league asshat for driving that way on public streets.

  • avatar

    I only watched that video above; judging by that, the chap can’t drive, it’s all just slow speed posturing , and he can’t hold a line through corners, much less save it properly coming out of a slow drift.

    Apart from that, it’s extremely dangerous; no skills and going too fast is fine on a race track, in public it’s plain criminal .

    And a young guy in an M5, even an older model, in Georgia, getting away with that stuff, doesn’t leave much room for interpretation .
    Drugged up low-tier hustler.

  • avatar

    The guy lacked common sense,and had a complete disregard for the publics safety as well as for his passenger.Now he’s a dead idiot that won’t endanger anyone else.What a self absorbed tool.

  • avatar

    A rare miss from Jack. He is basically saying “I did all the stuff this guy did and I critique his technique and I am not dead” well I hope you feel better Jack, you have plenty of humility except when it comes to your driving or female conquests.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      Yup. I used to be young and take chances, but know I’m old and mature and annoyed by young folk having fun like I once did.
      The odd part is that Baruth perfectly described why such reckless driving is so exhilarating – because you are on the edge and courting death at every instant.

      And the man chiding technique and urging a track day…wasn’t this a guy saying that it all came down to car safety systems? Pretty sure that’s how he made his name here.

      • 0 avatar

        Not gonna lie, I kinda like driving older cars without airbags and such for that very reason. I feel like I’m more likely to die and thus have to drive better and more carefully.

        When you know that a bad wreck can be your only wreck, you tend to drive a bit better.

  • avatar

    At best, I think Jack was trying to play the role of ex-con telling “troubled” kids that they need to straighten out. They need to hear it from someone with some credibility (to them). He’s “been there”, so you should take him seriously.

    He makes a plea that there are more and better ways to forge a gearhead identity, but it seems secondary to the typically Baruthian need to point out how awesome he is while simultaneously sounding like a grumpy old man.

    Also, I’m 99% certain the kids who really need to hear the message aren’t reading R&T anyway. If they’re reading at all, it’s the various style-and-drifting centric blogs (stanceworks, et al), or worse: forums.

    Sadly, I can’t help but wonder if this piece really got green-lit for cynical reasons: the incendiary topic of reckless driving (in various forms) always gets people worked up; controversy gets attention and traffic.

  • avatar

    same jack that wrote the maximum street speed articles?

    While I recognize from being here for years that Jack grew up.

  • avatar

    Lovely piece. And thankfully, ended in the way I hoped it would end.

    “Leave the bear and its skin alone. Be yourself, cool or uncool, and join the rest of us at your local racetrack, autocross course, or rally checkpoint. The stories you’ll add to your life will be just as exciting. I promise. And unlike the man with the M5, you’ll probably live to tell them.”

    Kudos for admitting to being wrong in the past, Jack.

  • avatar

    I’m not so sure how I feel about this article. On the one hand, Baruth faintly praises him by pointing out the excitement and magic of the sequence of events in his videos and noting how he’s never crashed in them, while also doing a little self-posturing “yeah, nothing there I haven’t done,” and then turning around and saying his technique sucks and “don’t do this, YOU won’t be cool if you do it, kids.”

    I’d never heard of this YouTube guy until I read this, and frankly, after seeing his video, I wish I hadn’t. It’s sad that he died indirectly as a result of his irresponsible behavior, but I am of the opinion that bring any additional attention to him, alive or dead, is irresponsible as well. It can only increase the number of potential copycats, who are watching that video and placing themselves behind the wheel. And I suppose Baruth was thinking about that as he closed the article.

    Still, I can’t help watching it myself and acknowledging the balls and adrenaline it takes to do that. It is exhilarating to watch. And I suppose that’s what I take issue with.

  • avatar

    RIP (for the E34 M5, not the Georgian asshat “driving” it).

  • avatar
    David Hester

    I wonder how much of Tvezadze’s luck in successfully pulling off these stunts as long as he did has to do with the fact that he was in Georgia, where his fellow motorists are used to seeing all manner of lunatic driving and are therefore at least somewhat mentally prepared to react defensively when it occurs around them. I watched the first video and saw a lot of people reacting very well to his approaching idiocy to avoid an accident. I can’t help but think that bored commuters in this country, rolling down the street in rush hour traffic with a Starbucks venti latte in one hand and a cellphone in the other, might not have gotten out of his way so quickly.

  • avatar

    This guy would have killed himself here in San Antonio. From the youtube video, I can see that lot of people who saw this douche predicted his moves and got out of his way. Compare to that to San Antonio Texas. You go at 50mph on an empty 3-lane 50mph one way road. Suddenly out of nowhere a Ford F250 pulls out from a mall right onto the second lane at 15mph and giving no quarter to anyone on the road. Get ready to encounter this pretty much anywhere in San Antonio, many times a day, every day. Also, numerous drivers who never use turn signals, drivers who don’t know how to turn off their turn signals, or drivers who activate the turn signal and then make turn in the opposite direction. Get used to raised trucks with exhaust the size of a house chimney. Get used to trucks with sealed truck beds and no trailer hitches (so WTF do they use these poseur gas guzzlers for?). Get used to drivers who are on their phones the whole time. Get used to drivers who don’t know that they need to give more gas going up hill and slow down when they go down hill, so you have the same car accelerating +15mph over the speed limit only to slow down 15mph below speed limit half mile later. Get used to the most clueless, most passive drivers in the country.

  • avatar

    Unfortunately, taking it to “the local racetrack, autocross course or rally checkpoint”, although minimizing risk of senseless loss of life and/or property, doesn’t guarantee much these days. I haven’t been to many track days where someone didn’t kiss a wall or run across an infield. It’s amazing how many people think that unless they are driving at 99%, they aren’t pushing themselves. Driving isn’t like snowboarding, where if you don’t fall, you aren’t trying hard enough.

    The fact of the matter is that most people are terrible, terrible drivers. Cars today allow us to things that were unthinkable before ABS, traction control and other computerized aids that control power to different wheels at different times. Drive a car without those things, turn them off or have any of them fail, and things generally go very, very wrong, very, very quickly for almost all of us.

    Factor in some excellent technology of modern crumple zones, airbags,etc. and people are able to make the same mistake(s) multiple times instead of actually learning anything valuable other than how to lie to their insurance company.

    I check weekly to see what kind of havoc people have wreaked on their uber machines and those around them. Here is what I saw today – an “organized” event where some jackass turned off the traction control in his exorbitantly expensive Koenigsegg CCX and proceeded to take out 17 people in the crowd (albeit behind some barriers intended for Christmas parades as opposed to high speed events).

    Non-profesional driver + incredibly powerful car – traction control = vehicle induced massacre.

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure what you are getting at? Sounds like you are saying track days aren’t safer. I would disagree. I have seen a few people hit the Armco but never anyone lose their life. If you are seeing lots of offs and crashes at track days you need to run with some different organizations, there should be a pretty regimented progression through the run groups.

      You make me think of a good point though, where is one going to go to practice hooning, not really anywhere, that stuff isn’t tolerated at any organized event in the US at least.

  • avatar

    I have to admit, I’ve had a fantasy of driving like this since I was a little kid. My dad was a speeder, as I tend to be, not a lot over, but almost always a little. The only time I rode with someone who drove like was done in the video was a friend of mine drove his lifted and seriously hopped up 440ci ’78 Dodge Powerwagon 4X4 over curbs, up on sidewalks, and across the center line like in the video to get home for some medical emergency his dad was having. Scariest 15 minutes of my life, but I had to admit, I was laughing most of the time, thinking at least I wouldn’t be getting the ticket or cuffs. I was more scared he would kill someone driving some tiny car than anything else.

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