The "red mist" has been a topic of discussion since the mid-eighties. Every year it attacks one or more participant. Truth be known, we have all been subject to it at one time or another with varying results. Fortunately, most of us have escaped unscathed.

The "red mist" is a sort of catch all name for aggressive driving run amok. Call it "biting off more than you can chew", or any of countless other clichés; the "red mist" is a case of an out of control attitude overwhelming a discipline that requires complete control and infallible judgment.

We have all witnessed it and fallen victim to it by varying degree (probably more than once). The "red mist" can be equated to the sirens? calling to the hapless sailors who strayed by. Like a moth to a flame, the mesmerized victim is flirting with impending doom. The allure of driving at a thrilling pace calls both, the uninitiated and veteran who should know better.

Simply put, the "red mist" is a feeling of invincibility brought on by the exhilaration of driving at a heightened pace. It blocks brain waves conducting logic and reason. The "red mist" can be compared to the "silent but deadly" fart. There is no sound, no warning, just the overwhelming stink coupled with the knowledge that retreat can only minimize damages that have already been done.

First time drivers are the most susceptible to mishaps. The more challenging the road, the more likely you are to fall victim. Driving skill is not necessarily an antidote. Back roads require different skills and disciplines from track environments. The more entertaining, unforgiving and unpredictable a road is; the more margins for error must be built into your driving style.

Your biggest enemy when driving the fun roads is the "red mist". The "red mist" is the mysterious force that cloud's one's ability to make the prudent decisions necessary for self-preservation. As excitement, enthusiasm and competitive spirit build, you begin to equate the level of fun as directly proportional to how far down the pedal on the right is positioned. Attacking the next corner becomes more and more important. The sight of tail lights ahead or the sight of anything in your rear view mirror becomes proof positive that your pace is just too slow. While others are pushed or pulled by your insane pace, you are convinced that you are holding up the whole procession. Imagine the loss of face at lunch when you are accused of being a slow-poke.

Reality is that the Porsche in front of you feels like they are holding you up, and the Porsche behind is scared that it is being left and will become hopelessly lost. Could this be a catch 22? Maybe so, but all the ingredients are contributing factors for a major case of the "red mist".

Obviously, you are very successful, being one of the best at what you do. That is exactly why you are driving a Porsche. Chances are excellent that you possess a large ego. However, being extremely successful at what you do doesn't necessarily translate to your automatically being a great driver. Well, maybe in Davy Jones? case, but that's about it. Driving schools, driver education events or any other badges or certificates of achievement don't equate to being a great driver either. Just because someone taught you how to swing a golf club doesn't make you Tiger Woods. Seat time counts heavily in how well you drive. Like your rotors, rust can set in quite quickly.

Track skills can be as big of a hindrance as a help. Lines need to be different. A margin for error must be built in. Most of all, no one knows what is over the next hill or around the next corner. Discipline is actually just as important as skill.

The following ingredients need to be held in check and understood if you are to have any hope of avoiding the "red mist": ego, fear, competition, enthusiasm and excitement. Permitting these emotions to cloud your better judgment is falling prey to the "red mist". Russian roulette may be a fair comparison to the "red mist"

Four relatively small patches of rubber are connecting your three thousand pound beast to the pavement. The forces trying to pry those patches away are powerful. Every component in your Porsche is there for one reason: to make the tires work. Do yourself a favor and quit trying to save a hundred bucks on tires.

Wake up and smell the coffee. Back off, build in a margin for error, and enjoy the whole experience.

The "red mist" is alluring, intoxicating and potentially deadly. Fight the "red mist" with all your strength. Resist temptation and be delivered from evil.

The "red mist" is out there waiting for you. Know your enemy. The ambush won't happen until you least expect it. Whether it's over the next hill or around the corner, it's lurking and waiting to pounce. Stay cool and back off the accelerator. Like the Chinese finger trap, the only way to defeat it is to relax.

Read more from the "Just Jack" article base

 Braking  Breaking in your new Porsche
 Dealing with the
 Driving Position
 Gasoline  Literal Translation
 Oil type and Weight
 Performance Driving 101
 Road Rash
 Radar Basics
 Tires  What separates you from impending doom
 Your worst nightmare has just come true
 Red Mist
 Fatigue Got to go right now!
 Dynamic Cornering Lights
 Literal Translation
 Next Generation 911/991, or Boxster Cayman/981


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