Weasel words over a protective fence for countermeasures…The appalling and dangerous behavior of “drifting spectators” visiting the Metropolitan Expressway’s Daikoku Parking Area | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Weasel words over a protective fence for countermeasures…The appalling and dangerous behavior of “drifting spectators” visiting the Metropolitan Expressway’s Daikoku Parking Area

Automotive journalist Kumiko Kato points out... Suggestions for the "dangerous galleries" who watch illegal driving in the Daikoku Parking Area.

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The Daikoku Parking Area is known as a “mecca for car enthusiasts” not only in Japan but also overseas. On the other hand, there are many drivers who engage in dangerous drifting and other nuisance driving, which is said to be a problem.

The Daikoku Parking Area (Daikoku PA), a rest facility on the Metropolitan Expressway, opened in August 1989 with the opening of the Metropolitan Expressway No. 5 Daikoku Line and the Yokohama Bay Bridge. It is accessible from both the westbound and eastbound directions of the Bayshore Route, making it an easy location to gather from both the Chiba and Kanagawa directions.’ With the opening of the Metropolitan Expressway K7 Northwest Route in 2008, it has become easier to use from the Tomei Expressway. It has been reported in the foreign media and is one of the “sacred places for car lovers” both in Japan and abroad.

At the same time, however, a major problem has arisen. As this magazine has reported in the past, illegal drifting on the public roads around Daikoku PA has become a social problem.

Drifting itself is a type of motorsports competition recognized by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and is popular all over the world. However, it goes without saying that drifting on public roads is extremely dangerous. Although the police frequently enforce drifting regulations in the vicinity of the Daikoku PA, many “drifters” still gather there late at night on weekends.

Furthermore, at Daikoku PA, there has long been a spot where this illegal driving can be seen from a distance. The “observation deck” located up the stairs next to the food court offers a good view of drifting on the roads around the Daikoku PA.

Suddenly, a fence was installed.

No measures had been taken for this drift viewing. However, in early December of last year, a fence was suddenly installed (see photo above). The fence was added to the existing block wall to prevent illegal drifting.

However, the fence was met with criticism.

However, in response to the installation of the fence, posts such as “Thank you, Kanagawa Prefectural Police, for making it easier to see the drifters.

However, in response to the installation of the fence, posts such as “Thank you Kanagawa Prefectural Police for making it easier to see drifters” began to appear on social networking sites. What is this all about?

Daikoku PA attracts many galleries on weekends, some of whom climb the block wall and lean against the fence. The fence doesn’t seem very strong, but ……

They climbed up the original block wall and leaned against the newly constructed fence, which allowed them to look down on the illegal driving from a higher position than before, so “thank you Kanagawa Prefectural Police”.

Of course, it is very dangerous to stand on top of the block and watch the drifting from the top of the fence. If a large number of people lean against the fence, there is a danger of the fence collapsing and falling. Therefore, in late December, pylons and no-entry ropes were set up to keep people away from the fence.

However, on December 23-24, just before Christmas, a large number of galleries climbed the block and watched the drifting action from the top of the fence, uploading photos on social media. The dangerous behavior had been repeated.

In response, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police and the Metropolitan Expressway, which manages the observatory, have installed measures to prohibit entry to the observatory itself.

The fence at the entrance to the observatory. I would like to think that there will be no intrusion beyond this fence. ……

It is truly a battle between the galleries and the enforcement. Of course, the biggest problem is the drivers who repeatedly drive illegally. However, while regulations on drifting have not been able to keep up, the crackdown on the gallery has become a contradiction in terms, as it has led to even more danger.

The corresponding fences that have been in place since January seem to have eliminated the number of galleries engaging in dangerous behavior. However, just as young people flooded the area before Christmas, there is no denying the possibility that some galleries will return before some event or occasion to engage in risky behavior. Once again, it is forbidden to watch in a place where there is an ongoing crackdown. We must not put ourselves in danger by taking the easy way out.

  • Interview and text by Kumiko Kato PHOTO Hiroto Kato

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