Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's not really "hate", per se...

A commenter yesterday asked why I was hating on him for driving a pickup. Which, you know, I wasn't, but let's clear a few things up.

I do hate badly driven vehicles, and badly driven large vehicles especially. Actually "hate" probably isn't the right word. If there was some word that meant "Loathe, abhor, detest, despise, wish eternal damnation upon", then that would be about right. If you are way up there in a big truck, those of us way down here in Nazi roller skates are counting on you to not have your head crammed up your fourth point of contact because we can't see what's going on in front of you.

If you are driving smoothly, deftly, and safely, then we will all be fine. If, on the other hand, the only view you have of the road is through your belly button, and even that is obscured by your iPhone screen, then we are going to have problems, because we can't see through your little boat propellor hitch decoration to the school bus full of handicapped nuns you're about to plow into either, which means that we'll be following right behind you into the conflagration.

Now, as for not liking trucks, that's purely a personal thing with me. I wouldn't drive one as a daily vehicle because I enjoy driving and don't need the carrying mojo of a truck on any kind of regular basis. I also wouldn't drive most sedans, wagons, or econoboxes either, by choice. I'm not one of these weirdos who think any vehicle I wouldn't drive should be banned, however. Drive what you want, it's still mostly a free country. Just please drive it well.


Blackwing1 said...

As you note, trucks do have their occasional place. There's a certain joy in being able to back up into the local nursery, and tell 'em, "Yeah, just put a couple of yards of that good-looking black dirt in the back", when I'm in my little pick-me-up truck. And I'd bet the silver Nazi roller-skate doesn't do so well when towing a 14-foot boat to launch from an "unimproved" (Minnesnowta-speak for "mud") ramp into a small lake.

But my regular ride, for 9 months of the year, is two-wheeled (yes, it's a "black(Gold)wing". And as you know from experience, when you're on two wheels you get to see some of the most eqreqiously B*A*D driving ever done. When you're on two wheels on the freeway, you're usually the target of the bad driving.

How about a modest proposal? Before you are allowed to drive a behemoth SUV or pick-up, you must first survive a minimum of 3,000 miles on a motorcycle in city traffic. If they live through the experience, it'll give 'em a good idea of why inattentive driving is a bad idea. If they don't, well, then the average intelligence of the human race goes up by a minute fraction. As Niven said, "Think of it as evolution in action."

Anonymous said...

Also the big vehicles get more "negative attention" because if you F-up driving your 14 year, 1500 pound old Geo Metro, you get hurt.

If you F-up in your recent F-350/ Caravan/ Navigator you probably walk away, but I get pasted.

Aside from which, as the point has been made, unlike a geo metro that I can see through, over, and around, those bigger vehicles are like having a house in front of me, I can't see over you, you fill the entire lane from line to line and so many now have heavy dark tinting that looking through is hopeless.

Bad driving is much more consequential.

falnfenix said...

i agree with blackwing's comment regarding testing behemoth drivers with motorcycle survival skills. it would guarantee they'd at least see us on our little two-wheeled "hooligan" machines...

Nathan Brindle said...

Frankly, I'm damn sick and tired of all these people out here in suburbia driving these huge SUVs who haven't got a clue how to maneuver them, either in traffic or parking them.

They're a menace, and most of them seem to be driven by petite cell-phone-yakking soccer moms who can barely see over the steering wheel.

I don't care about huge SUV's per se. I do care about whether or not I'm going to get rolled over by one because it's being driven incompetently.

og said...

Crappy drivers suck, if they are in a pickup or on a bicycle.

Me, I had the solution to this, years ago. Paintball. Everyone carries a paintball gun in their car, and when they see someone driving like a fucktard, they splat 'em with a paintball.

A cop sees a car with 20,000 paintball splats, he pulls him over and blows his head off gives him a ticket.

Amazing how much opposition to this I hear- usually, from the people who can't drive.

Anonymous said...

Blackwing has it right. The principle reason that I have NEVER had an at-fault accident (been run into a couple of times) is because my earliest years on the road were on top of a Norton Atlas swooping the highways and byways of California (including downtown SF and LA). When you feel like the only Messerschmitt in a sky full of P-51s, you get REAL alert!

Word verification: jjdcj. The sound your bike's tires make skidding on loose gravel.


Billy Beck said...

I also saw someone ragging on SUV's. It would make just as much sense for me to go on a tear about women.

I drive disposable Ford Explorers. I spend an average of about $2500 on 'em and drive 'em till the wheels fall off. My current ride was a country sheriff's department K-9 unit: no back seat = bitchin' cargo area in a unit like this. All my guitars and about half my amplifiers will go in there and ride my squishy pink self through brutal Daisy Hollow winters, with requisite authority.

I drive it like I know what I'm doing -- because I do -- and Andrew Sullivan and everybody else can go stick their thumbs straight up their asses it they don't like it.

It's all about me.

"The world began when I was born."

(Badger Clark -- "The Westerner")

Billy Beck said...

Ps. -- "How about a modest proposal? Before you are allowed to drive a behemoth SUV or pick-up, you must first survive a minimum of 3,000 miles on a motorcycle in city traffic."

BT,DT, got the dynamic dermabrasions from two hit & runs to prove it.

If that's the standard, then I'm in.

DirtCrashr said...

Pickup trucks are for dirtbikes. When riding a tall dualsport like the XR650L, I could see over cars and ride up onto the sidewalk if I wanted. It was transformative. The height advantage and off-road capability turned me into a truck driver. In the past I had low, slinky, go-cart cars stuck firmly to the narrow ribbon of asphalt with nowhere to turn. I had to look underneath the vehicle ahead to see what was going on. I hated minivans most because of the low architecture floor-pan, a jacked-up truck I could see forward under, better. Riding offroad taught me to enjoy the looseness of gravel and mud. During our Alpine Tour in Italy on the R1100 we took off down Passo del Stelvio on a gravel short-cut to the bottom - it was wonderful to get off the tarmac, and finally instead of playing catch-up to the ricky-racers with a hard throttle wrist I was ahead and nobody could touch me - and we were two-up. I've done my 20,000 on a bike in traffic and I'm over it. I like my F-150 because I see more and really don't care to drive my wife's 530i where I'm blinded.

jimbob86 said...

Bad drivers are bad drivers. The increased size/mass/horsepower of large SUVs just magnify the driving errors, and the effects thereof, while reducing the safety margin for such errors, except with respect to surivability of the occupants of the SUV in crashes with smaller vehichles (a major selling point!). Thus, blissninny soccer moms buy 11 passenger Expeditions to tote around their 2.1 brats to their various practices/recitals/games, to protect them from the thing most likely to kill or injure their progeny: auto crashes (often caused by poor driving by blissninny soccer moms driving vehichles to large for their level of driving skill...... there is some irony in that, somewhere.)...

Some people NEED a large vehichle.... but I saw a lot of large SUVs with 3 butts in the seats on our trip across the country (Charleston to Omaha) this week .....

OT, but I have a question: What makes the area just North and West of Downtown Knoxville such a Mecca for the urban outdoorsmen of the area?

Dr. StrangeGun said...

So essentially you hate bad drivers, but bad drivers in bigger vehicles are more evident.

José Giganté said...

So its wrong that i'm reading this on my iPhone while in trafic?

Methinks I may have a knack for pushing Tam's button, or maybe I'm a tad full of myself.

bumper sticker philosopher said...

I live in Florida. Heaven's waiting room. Bad drivers move here to die. Some of these folks are simply "Q-tips". (All you can see is fuzzy cotton white hair and a pair of knuckles sticking over the wheel) most are immigrants from NY, PA or Miami.

I commute an hour each way to work on I-95. I drive a lot. The bad drivers here aren't the pickup trucks with dirt bikes in the back or the guy hauling a lawn mower trailer.

The bad drivers here are the people who drive average size cars who have no knowledge of how to drive.

They get in the left lane and set the cruise control at 65.

They whip in and out of traffic and in between 18-wheelers while talking on their cell phones.

They get right on your ass when you are passing.

They don't signal lane changes.

Bad drivers aren't the guys in the pickups.

Bad drivers are the cell-phone chatting soccer moms in mini-vans.

they are the teenage boys in 15 year old Hondas with sagging ground effects and a fart-can muffler.

They are the people with a zoomy Euro trash car they they imagine (and try to drive) like it is some sort of world class sports car.

They are the idiots riding Japanese donorcycle crotch rockets kicking it up to 150 on the straightaways, without a helmet! while wearing a wife beater t-shirt, surf baggies and flip-flops.

I've been hit 3 times in my 1995 fullsize Chevy truck. None of them my fault.

All 3 (ticketed) drivers were distracted women.

All of them were driving smallish cars. One a sports car.

Two of their cars were totaled. One was just swiped.

Two of those accidents didn't even scratch the paint on my truck, the other only slightly shifted the bed.

I drive a truck becuase its safer and there are too many idiots on the road driving like they are in tanks when in fact there is only an eighth inch of sheet metal sperating them from death.

If this makes the idiot in a 88 Geo Metro angry, might I suggest they buy something other than a tin-can to ride around in.

butch_s said...

I learned to drive in a Pinto, bought my first bike (CB125S) a couple of years later. Moved to Atlanta and blew the 125's engine up on Perimeter, replaced it with a CB750F which I used as my primary means of transport there for years. Bought my first truck when a new job entailed a move to Colorado, I still have the bike.

I like driving, though I prefer a truck for the basic utility of it. I also like riding bikes, though these days I'd just as soon walk as ride in traffic.

Laughingdog said...

A better rule would be "Drive what you want. But don't cry to the rest of us about gas prices when you drive something that gets 9 mpg."

RedneckInNY said...

My 2-1/2 ton pickup truck is a 5-speed Tacoma and I do drive it well and respect others on the road, no matter how badly they're driving. I stay out of the left lane and usually coast no more than 5 mph over the speed limit on cruise control. In the past year since I'd gotten my truck, I'd been rear-ended twice; both times they were women who were either following too close, or weren't paying attention. The first one was a 20-something girl in a brand new Sentra who went under my hitch and totaled her front end. Nary a scratch on my truck. The second was a woman behind me in her SUV at the end of an exit ramp looking at traffic rather than me in front of her, waiting for an opening so I could go. Needless to say, she rams her bumper right into mine and pushed my bumper in about 1/4". But she split her bumper cover from the impact. I drove a 13-year-old Civic till it got stolen, which is why I bought the truck. I need it for hauling stuff and when I go hunting. And since my job is only a few miles from my home, it wouldn't kill me in gas prices either, so I got mine. I hate bad drivers no matter what they're driving. My favorite "road joke" is:

What's the difference between a BMW (or insert your vehicle of choice here) and a porcupine?

A porcupine has its pricks on the outside.

Kristopher said...

I drive a huge '82 diesel 4x4 Suburban that I paid about $1300 for. Dents caused by inattentive idiots don't bother me

I get about 20 mpg, can haul all of my bicycle and or shooting stuff, or 8 other people, and can crush all my enemies before me.

All I need are a set of Elk-killing brush bars, and my rig will be complete.

Right of way belongs to the one with the least to lose, followed by the one with the biggest rig. I win on both counts.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

"Right of way belongs to the one with the least to lose,"

You've obviously never been witness to Chronic, my blue 1991 shadow. Well, most of a blue 1991 shadow. There's something to be said about a rusty old econobox that's been rallycrossed within inches of it's life, has an interior consisting of the seats and the raw instrument cluster ziptied to the wiring harness ziptied to the dash, has a motor that survived a 50 mile sprint with a 1" chunk of the head gasket missing form #4 and is actually missing part of the HEAD at the thermostat box, has a busted muffler where it rolled out of the driveway and down a 45 degree embankment before shoving the tailpipe into the asphalt hard enough to break.... the asphalt...

Yup, I can drive it :) Funny thing is, for all the above it has a tight suspension, good tires, and the lessened weight gives it some punch. Well, for as long as the fuel pump runs before it overheats and shuts off.

Jerry said...

I don't understand the pretty truck syndrome. You know, the truck that has never been down a gravel road or "off" road. With the bed liner or the locking cover. Phhht.

Trucks are meant to be dirty and haul crap in them.

Don Meaker said...

Coolness! Tam knows what a '4th point of contact' is! One of my favorite euphemisms.

B&N said...

"The height advantage and off-road capability turned me into a truck driver"

I've owned (and loved) a very tall SUV before, and the seating position gives a rather commanding view of the road. Better for dodging the dolts, I find. My long-time daily driver is a compact Nissan truck. Nice seating position, and it does what I need it to do, and it does it reliably.

I truly have no gripe with the lumbering SUV, full-size trucks or land yachts that populate the lanes. Mostly it's the drivers, who've been lulled into sleep, literally, by the consequences (in my opinion) associated with the god-awful automatic transmission.

As time passes, I run across more folks who've NEVER driven anything with a proper clutch in it (don't try to sell me that crap with an "Autostick", it's not even close to a good imitation), and IT SHOWS. They do NOTHING more than stab at pedals (with BOTH feet) and steer the damned thing, instead of driving the vehicle.


If you can't drive, please get the F*CK OFF THE ROAD!

captcha - hujio, Hahahaha!

mcthag said...

If you have something more important to do than pilot the vehicle, pull over to do it.

The really sad thing is that driving is not hard, it just requires attentiveness.