Race truck driver Myatt Snider told Magna Vista High School students on Thursday that they should use common sense and avoid distractions while driving.
Snider is the 2018 Camping World Truck Series and Sonoco Rookie of the Year. He spoke at a program sponsored by Who’s Your Driver, a part ofv Drive Smart Virginia, a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness and change behavior to improve the safety of roads in the state. The Who’s Your Driver program addresses impaired driving, according to Drive Smart’s website.
At the age of 24, “I’m not too far away from high school,” he told the students — but he has been driving since he was 10 years old, as long as some of them have been alive, he pointed out.
Phones are banned inside NASCAR cars, he said, and can be a dangerous distraction to regular drivers.
He asked who in the audience has texted while driving, and many hands were raised.
“You’re not supposed to do it,” he said. “It seems easy, right?”
But 60 percent of all crashes teenagers are involve some type of distraction — and cell phones are top distractions.
Snider said he grew up in Charlotte, N.C., “the central hub of racing.” His father is a reporter who has covered NASCAR and other sports.
Martinsville Speedway representative Brooks Taylor pointed out that the Martinsville Speedway is “the only track from NASCAR’s original schedule.”
“It’s pretty awesome. There’s so much history” in Martinsville, Snider said.
He said he likes Martinsville because it’s a short track, and drivers make 280-degree turns.
“It’s really hard to make a pass, so you end up with a bunch of bumping,” he said.
Racing in Martinsville is “more fun … than most other race tracks.”
In Martinsville, the fastest trucks tend to go is about 120 mph at the end of the straightaway, he said. At longer tracks, such as Daytona, speeds can reach 200 to 210 mph.
Snider is training for a pilot’s license and studying at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His major is math, which is important with both cars and airplanes, he said.
When Taylor asked the difference between flying a plane and driving a car, Snider said that “in a plane it’s really serene … in a race car you’re going really fast.”
After he spoke, he took questions from the students. T
Does he prefer pop artist Nicki Minaj or Cardi B? “Definitely Nicki.
Does he have a PS-4? No, but he likes to play the iRacing video game.
Does he get dizzy driving in a race? No, but “some people do, not me. They gotta legit take like 5 minutes to collect themselves.
Do you have a girlfriend? “Sorry ladies. I am not single.
Does he like the movie “Talladega Nights?” “That movie is great, though I feel like it paints NASCAR in a bad light … it’s hilarious.
Favorite food? Chicken pot pie.
Does he feel the need to drive fast on regular roads? He got his first ticket in Virginia. “Ya’ll’s cops are pretty strict to be honest. … I try not to speed, because usually I’m the butt of cop jokes” if caught.
How much gas money does he use in a race? He calculated the math: The tank holds 20 gallons, and the tank is filled three times in a race. The fuel costs $12 per gallon, so it comes out to about $720.
Will he watch Sunday’s race? No, he has too much schoolwork to do.
Does he play basketball? “I suck.”
He was requested to dance the “floss” dance move. “It’s not going to happen,” he said — but after much cheering and urging, he stood up and flossed, then sat down and shook his head.
As the program wound down, he reminded the students not to drive too fast. “It’s a lot easier to deal with being slow and getting there two minutes late than dealing with a crash,” he said.
Kristin Pettway of Drive Smart Virginia told the audience that the leading cause of death for teenagers is a car crash. “The most dangerous thing you do every day is get in a car,” and she reminded them to be careful.
“That phone can wait,” MVHS Principal Charles Byrd said. “Put it somewhere out of your way” while in a car.
He also encouraged the students to go to Saturday’s truck race at the speedway.
“It’s not every day you see a man who gets in a truck and goes 150 to 200 miles an hour,” Byrd said — and people ages 17 and younger can get in free.