Column rage on Castanet

Last week’s column turned out to be quite interesting.

I wrote a satirical piece on how many people buy a truck, spend a lot of money on it and then fail to navigate a speed bump without coming a complete stop.

It was humorous — to me and perhaps Jeremy Clarkson. The former host of Top Gear would have written something similar, too. But truckers were not happy.

I also mentioned some less than positive experiences with pickup truck drivers recently. In fact, I was not alone; I received emails from people thanking me for adding that aspect to the column.

However, I did not say that all truck drivers are bad; I said bad-driving habits cross the spectrum of vehicles types.

But it did not stop the road rage. In fact, Castanet moderators had to delete some rather personal comments. Not all the comments were aimed at me oddly enough.

Interestingly, in defence of their position, some of the presumed pickup drivers in the comment section may not have helped their cause. In fact, they may have supported some of the comments in the article.

So, what was my point? Aside from some humour, my point was that a pickup is a poor choice for daily driver. I didn't say they aren't a good utility vehicle, although you have to wonder how the rest of the world manages to survive without a large pickup truck.

They are not a good choice for a daily driver for a number of reasons, only one of which has to do with gas mileage.

The most obvious problem is that almost all trucks are sold with cart springs. Cart springs were invented in medieval times and inherently create bad vehicle dynamics, but are the cheapest suspension choice for the manufacturer.

Cars and smaller vehicles said goodbye to cart springs decades ago, but truck manufacturers still insist on using them. I referred to the Hemi truck in testing because is it is one of the few trucks that does not use cart springs (leaf springs). 

The handling characteristics of leaf springs are - well - medieval, and the reason why driving offload is an unpleasant experience in such a vehicle. 

A truck by definition has a higher centre of gravity than a car i.e. it can roll easier. Move the wheels lower in relation to the weight will only exacerbate the problem meaning young drivers die rolling their jacked-up truck. Horsepower makes the problem worse.

I was accused of not researching the article. So for those who perhaps don’t know my background,

  • I am a truck driver (2500 Cummins)
  • I am a championship winning rally driver
  • I am contracted as a precision driver and advanced driving instructor
  • I was a driver with the Bowler Offload Dakar rally team for several years racing large offload vehicles.

So I do speak with some experience on the subject. 

I do have friends who drive trucks, build trucks and are truck journalists. 

If you drive a truck, good for you. It does not make a truck a safer or more practical vehicle of choice for a safe daily driver. It is a utility vehicle.

When it comes to the comments section, it was delightful to read that somebody used to enjoy reading Castanet’s newspaper, but no longer after reading my column. Perhaps he drives around in a truck with cart springs too :)

Most of the comments were nonsensical rants, however there were a few comments about BMW drivers, so I checked that out too. Turns out the Internet world is largely not too keen on BMW drivers either. 

So I guess I have to wear that mantle, but I don’t have to drive a vehicle with cart springs from the medieval times.


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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:
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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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