Author Topic: Storm Chasing Partner FAQ  (Read 4800 times)

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Offline Jimmy Deguara

  • Australian and Tornado Alley storm chaser
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Storm Chasing Partner FAQ
« on: 21 December 2009, 02:23:40 AM »
Storm Chasing Partner FAQ

Chase partners can be a good thing because you become a team and you can enjoy storms together and share the excitement and experiences. However, you have to get over the annoyances (if any) at first. And there are some items that need to be discussed openly prior to any chasing. Some tips to not break up partnerships:

Share the cost - fuel and driving. I would even be willing to pay MORE THAN half the cost to a driver if I have NO car myself. The cost of running a car is more than just fuel. Come to an agreement if you wish to help share costs of broken wind screens or damage to the car by kangaroos for instance. Some choose to help in a verbal agreement others don't - personal choice. Trust me, get these issues out of the way prior to an event as it can break friendships! If you choose to manage your own vehicle costs, then so be it - at least the agreement was achieved before the event. Sometimes the vehicle may belong to someone else eg parents - they also need to know what is going on.

Respect the other person's property (eg car, video camera if you film for them etc). It is not uncommon for storm chasers to be pedantic about their equipment. Often you can get out in muddy areas so if you are pedantic about the cleanliness about your vehicle, put newspaper on the ground. The partner may help in anyway to help reduce the mess.

Share the driving as there are calculated risks (damage to vehicle, traffic offences and so forth). All these can increase the risk of cost.

On the chase itself

Make clear arrangements prior to the chase - if possible the night before as it could be an early start. Decide on an agreed time and location - perhaps revised on the morning when you meet each other.

TIME! Be on time as even 5 minutes has stuffed up chases in the past! Being on time as the driver and the passenger is important. Michael and I were always on time in the early years when we chase near Sydney - it was always other chasers who caused concern. Don't try and make regular excuses either - traffic etc. Give the partner the option to go without and you can for one day chase with yours if it means they may be late.

Chase techniques and decisions. Try and work with each other's strengths as the decision of one person can be the right choice whereas somebody else's decision and strengths may be more beneficial on other events. Experience will test thsi out. Disagreements in storm chasing decision making has broken friendships! Even simple differences in chase techniques or what a person wants to see can cause issues. Most people enjoy a lightning show but don't assume everyone is willing to stay up to 4am. Show respect to each other and work things out through options.


Assist with the driver in any way. This could be helping take photographs and video for them so put down yours and take with theirs. By doing this, they are not distracted from the driving. In some instances on big chases with winding road views and no opportunities to stop, the passenger may relocate in the back seat so they can get views from either side. Assisting can also be looking for accommodation and even getting updates from a friend.

Sharing accommodation for overnight stays - again that is personal preference but it can help reduce the cost. This is when you really begin to know the person!

Be honest to each other in terms of driver safety. Driver fatigue is real and if you fall asleep there is a high likelihood of a fatility. Even if you had not agreed to drive another person's vehicle, a once off in a serious situation just to even get to a hotel can save your and someone else's life. Don't look around when you are driving - leave the passenger to do that. If you need to look yourself, stop briefly. Also you have other dangers such as hydro-planing - slow down and make sure your wheels are set to driving with traction. I turn off the over-drive option when in weather and windy roads for instance.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
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