Pickups belong on farms

You have heard the saying I am sure, Big Truck, Little ... well I truly believe it now.

I was researching the perception of pickup-truck-driver’s habits recently and there does appear to be some congruency of opinion.

What made me start the research was a series of incidents while I was driving in Kelowna last week. The most recent of which was in the construction on Highway 97N where the traffic needed to merge.

A car came up on the inside lane to merge left in front of a truck about 100 metres before the lane ended. It was a perfectly normal driving routine.

For those of you who are unaware, merge implies that you need to match the speed of the lane you are moving in to, find a spot, indicate and move. It does not mean put your indicator on when no space is available and barge over.

So the car driver executed a perfect merge manoeuvre. The truck driver, as is common with many truck drivers, did not want to be “overtaken” and so he accelerated to close the gap on the car. 

Let’s call it what it is. Stupid, and dangerous. It happened to me traveling back from Whistler recently when I overtook three vehicles, the front one being a truck, who again, clearly did not like being overtaken.

As my ability to overtake was coming to a close, he thought it  more appropriate to race rather than maintain his current speed, creating a very dangerous circumstance. 

A quick read of forums on pick-up truck drivers will have you laughing or crying as you read about circumstances that you routinely witness. But just for a second, let’s be honest — bad driving habits are not restricted to pickup truck drivers.

But, what is it about big trucks and little things?

I have found the answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I think a pickup truck has a place in Canada — on a farm. Recently, on a tire-testing campaign, I had the pleasure of driving a Hemi truck at Mission Racetrack and it was fun. But is it practical as a daily driver? No.

But it doesn’t stop there when you buy a big truck. It has to be bigger.

The most dangerous thing you can do to a truck is “jack it up,” but the manufacturers and dealers do that for you these days.

From a safety point of view, jacking a truck up is a ridiculous devolution of a not very good road vehicle. 

The act of simply adding height from the drive train changes so much critical geometry that if you did it correctly, you would be paying twice the price for an already expensive truck.

But we don’t do it properly. We just “jack ‘em up.”

As if that isn’t good enough. Let’s put some big tires on it and make it look bigger. Now, presumably, all of this is to improve off road handling. Because now, we can drive over big rocks, with lots of ground clearance.

Don’t forget, we bought the truck because the guy on the TV told us it was “built tough.” So this thing can chew up rough ground, right?

But the improvements don’t stop there. Let’s “chip it.” If it is a diesel, you can turn a very dangerous, impractical road going vehicle into a drag car and do some “coal rolling” I think they call it.


So why then, if we chip it to go fast, raise it to go over rocks, put big tires on it to handle all kinds of terrain and buy a “built tough” truck, why does almost every truck in a shopping mall car park come to a grinding halt to drive over a speed bump?

Even my BMW with about five inches of ground clearance and normal road tires can drive over the speed bump at 20 km-h. You see, trucks are a waste of money because they cannot even drive over a speed bump…

Big Trucks, Little bumps. There's the answer.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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