HPDE is a sport where safety is emphasized, along with speed, fun and learning, but some risk still remains. Track hazards are a big one. Encountering the wrong track hazard at the wrong spot could ruin a great track day.

Make sure you’re prepared for these 10 hazards for a safer event.

1. Fluids on Track

Cars are full of fluids that keep their components clean, cool and well lubricated under demanding conditions. But leaks are common — there are many points where these systems could fail. When they do and fluids get on a track, it can interfere with tire adhesion. Oil and coolant are the most common, and when you drive over them, they take away almost all the grip.

2. Debris on Track

Anything attached to a car when it drives onto a track may become detached from it while it is on the track. Once it’s off the car and on the pavement, this debris is a hazard to the other drivers on the track. Some of most common items include corner lights or turn signals, side view mirrors, parts of bumpers, exhaust components and more. Hitting debris may cause damage to your vehicle’s body, its tires or suspension, while trying to avoid it may lead to an incident.

3. Track Damage

Sometimes, the track itself can become a hazard to the drivers who are on it. This can happen in different ways. Sometimes, there are bad parts of the pavement with little grip. Cracks, bumps and uneven pavement can unsettle a car during a corner and be challenging to navigate. Some cracks will also weep out water, creating a brief slippery situation. In each scenario, the track damage can cause a loss of control.

4. Other Drivers

HPDE is generally a fun, friendly, low-competition motorsports activity. Yet there are times when the other drivers on the track may present a hazard. For a variety of reasons, some drivers can be very unpredictable on a track. Excitement, inexperience, distraction and more can all play a role. The result is that a car in front of or behind you may not do what you think it ought to do when it ought to do it. Avoid an incident and adjust your following distances accordingly.

5. Other Cars

Sometimes the issue with other cars on a track isn’t the driver, but the vehicle itself. Another car may become a track hazard for you if it spins near you and you are forced to take evasive action to avoid it. A car that loses control may become a hazard to you, regardless of whether it is in front of you, behind you or to either side of you.

6. Wildlife on Track

Since most tracks are a bit rural, it’s fairly common to have wildlife encounters on track. Examples can include snakes, birds, turtles, deer, turkeys and more. Like other drivers, animals can be unpredictable. They may stand still or move into your path, making it a challenge to avoid them. Contact with a large animal may cause significant damage to your vehicle, while maneuvers to avoid a smaller one may cause you to end up off track.

7. Weather

Drivers always hope the conditions will be ideal for a track day, but Mother Nature sometimes has other plans. Weather of all types can pose a hazard at the track. Rain, wind, hail, lightning, morning drizzle, frost and ice can all happen, depending on the location and the season, sometimes with little warning. Most events happen rain or shine, so you will likely have to adjust to driving in the rain to minimize the risk of an incident.

8. Vehicle Fires

Fuel is a combustible material that has to be handled very carefully. Outside its controlled environments of the pump, tank, fuel lines and engine, it’s a hazard. Add the high heat and sparks that can occur on track and a fire is a real possibility. A car that catches fire is an immediate danger to its occupants. However, that car can also become a track hazard for the other drivers around it.

9. Brake Fade

Everyone shows up at the track with a nice firm brake pedal, but the conditions on track can still cause reduced stopping power. Every driver knows the importance of bleeding all of the air out of the lines and using fresh, high quality brake fluid to prevent brake fade. At high temperatures, such air and water contamination make brakes ineffective. However, brake fade can also occur from high temperatures alone. It is possible to exceed the operating temperature of the brake pads themselves, reducing braking performance significantly.

10. Tire Failure

Bald, cracked and bulging tires aren’t allowed on the track for good reason. They are a hazard that could result in a dangerous tire failure at high speed. Even so, a tire that appears to be in good condition will fail on track every now and then. Usually this occurs by delamination or a blow out. When it does happen, it becomes a real challenge to keep the car under control after the failure when you have only three tires in contact with the ground.

Why Is Track Day Insurance Important?

Even with safe driving and a high level of skill, it’s generally impossible to avoid all track hazards. Accidents outside your control may still happen and your car could be damaged.

Without coverage, you could be out your investment in a dedicated track car or your daily driver. Yet many traditional auto policies exclude coverage for vehicles participating in an HPDE event.

Track Day Insurance from Lockton Motorsports is specifically designed to protect your car from physical damage while you’re participating in an HPDE event, protecting:

  • Street-legal cars and non-licensed track cars.
  • Modifications you’ve made to your car.
  • Two drivers at each event at no additional cost.
  • Any demonstration laps your instructor drives.

You can purchase track day coverage conveniently, either ahead of time or the day of an event, online at LocktonMotorsports.com. Have a question? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at (866) 582-4957 to speak to our motorsports insurance experts.