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Pick Up Truck "Attitude"

pam2pam2 Posts: 185
edited February 2014 in General
I'm just curious about the "attitude" of pick-up
truck drivers. I live in Texas where there are
MANY big trucks. It seems like almost all of them
are obnoxious on the road - tailgating, bullying
around other cars, speeding, etc.

What gives?


  • queenmsqueenms Posts: 26

    I live down in Katy near Houston and the behavior that you describe tends to be that of aggressive drivers in general. Unfortunately the driving in Texas and many other cities in the country is becoming more and more aggressive. It used to be that you never noticed pickups because they were primarily a work/ranch/farm vehicle. But now with the booming popularity of trucks you find many more of them on the roads as commuter vehicles. This can be intimidating to those in vehicles built lower to the ground.

    I can't speak for everyone but I was taught never to drive closer than I could stop the vehicle I was in under any circumstance. This for me is 3 car lengths, which means in Houston traffic I get a lot of drivers jumping into that space and forcing me to slow down to maintain that distance. I have found that rude driving is never confined to one group of people but can be found in any group. If you ask my Big Rig driving friends they will gripe loudly about the imported "sporty" cars that regularly cut them off creating incredibly dangerous conditions for everyone around.

    I think if all drivers would relax a little and treat other drivers with courtesy, time spent on our highways would be a lot safer.
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    I think another aspect is the booming popularity of pickups among young people in the midwest and south. They are literally the muscle cars of the 90's: V8 engines, rear drive, relatively unsophisticated, easy to modify, etc. The combination of younger more foolish drivers and high power sport trucks contributes to the pickups' more aggressive reputation.
  • checksixchecksix Posts: 28
    An "attitude has its' ogigin in a persons brain.
    enough said
  • checksixchecksix Posts: 28
    markus & hcombs put it very well.

    I have noticed over the years (many), that rudeness by some has been replaced by aggressiveness; even to the point of "Road Rage".

    However, it has not been limited to any particular type of vehicle.

    There is probably a little "Walter Mitty" in all of us

  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    Following standard road courtesy principles can go a long way towards reducing some of the problem. Dallas is the worst place I have ever driven when it comes to road courtesy, and my driving includes 4.5 years in Southern CA. The most oft abused road courtesy rules are:

    - The left lane always yields to faster traffic, regardless of what speed you are going;
    - Never accelerate when someone is trying to pass.

    Alot of driving is common sense. Too many people try to play police officer and slow down faster moving traffic or block them in. That almost certainly results in tailgating and agressive, sometimes dangerous, passing attempts by an agitated driver. The last thing I want is to have a driver tailgating me that obviously wants to go faster than I feel is safe for the conditions. I definitely prefer that he be somewhere ahead of me.

    The commonly accepted safe distance behind a vehicle is two seconds. As a general rule of thumb, that is one car length for every 10mph. That rarely happens on a busy urban highway. Three car lengths may seem safer, but chances are that it won't provide adequate response time to avoid most accidents if they happen right in front of you. The majority of city highway driving is done on faith. It's the faith that the other drivers on the road will behave in a normal driving fashion. In other words, we count on the fact that the driver in front of us will not slam on his brakes for no reason.

    There is no excuse for road rage, but it will never be eliminated. We, as responsible drivers, can follow commonly accepted road courtesy rules to avoid contributing to the problem, and at the very least, get the driver away from us by letting him pass.
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    Well, y'all have some good points, but I'm still scared of pickup truck drivers. I, too, live in Dallas and know that the drivers here are terrible. But the trucks seem to be the worst. Maybe it's because they're so much bigger or because the younger people are driving them. But there is a definite "bully" feeling from them for me.

  • GischpelGischpel Posts: 133
    On the radio last week I heard about a study of professional truck drivers that was done and they rated male operators of pickup trucks the worst drivers on the road. One reason for it was believed to be what hcombs0 said -- the guys are driving the hot rods of the 90's and think they are invinceable. Now that's a pretty broad generalization, but it may hold some water.

    Bit whether this is true or not, it's something I think about each day as I climb into my truck and venture off. In the study, one area where most problems occurred was when pickups were merging into highway/interstate traffic. The "gun it and go" mentality seemed to take over.

    Having been a professional truck driver, I understand the concern with this because stopping the big rigs takes time and a lot of distance. When someone darts out in front of you and then can't get up to highway speed fast enough, they may not realize how close they are to becoming a hood ornament on an 18-wheeler. It is unfortunate that some of them do learn, but by then it is usually too late...
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    Everyone should have to take an extended day road trip where they are only permitted to drive at night. A lot of road courtesy can be learned when driving with the professional truck drivers on the highway after dark.
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    I think it's a mix of both the "hot rod of the 90's" and the "SUV syndrom" that affects a lot of younger P/U drivers. Why not feel invincible? You've got a bigger engine than almost any other vehicle, and you're bigger than those "safe because their so big" SUV's. Both of these concepts are stupid and come from inexperience.

    Lots of young drivers don't realize that their F-250 SuperDuty doesn't weave in traffic like an MR-2, nor does it get up and go like a TransAm.

    Guys like to think that because they've got a big engine, they can do anything. Wrong. My truck won't do 0-60 in 3 seconds, but it can pull a boat without breathing hard.

    If a driver MUST have a truck and MUST drive it like a sports car, look for an F-150 Lightning, Dodge Dakota R/T, or Chevy 1500 SS.
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    I drive a diesel crew cab in Dallas. What really gets me concerned are the number of people who drive directly behind me in traffic -- in small cars. I /know/ that they can't see around me. In a truck, you can at least get some idea of what the road conditions are like a few cars ahead of you.
  • jholcjholc Posts: 25
    I am a young male with a P/U that fits into these aggressive driver categories very well. What scares me about my behavior on the road is that off the road, I am very responsible and usually curtious to almost anyone, but get behind someone who is sitting in the left lane on the hwy who either doesn't care or is clueless about "slower traffic keep right" and I become very angry very fast. I really would like to find out a way to deal with this national trend short of taking something like "prozac" before getting behind the wheel.

    One other rarely mentioned thing is the silent catylist drivers who seem to secretly get enjoyment by frustrating any driver who wants to go faster then them. I think these drivers launch a lot of the road rage incidents.

    I don't think this is going to be an easy question to answer in this country. I've been to other countries where the driving scares me to death. (Spain & France) and I've been to countries that seem to have wonderful systems (Germany & Austria)
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113

    While I agree completely with your second paragraph and sympathize with much of the rest of your post, there is no excuse for road rage. There will always be idiot drivers on the road. If you get worked up to a road rage level when you encounter these people, the problem may lie with you. I get frustrated, and I have to confess to some tailgating when it happens. However, there is a limit at which you can permit yourself to step over the line and become determined to make the other driver pay for your opinion of their stupidity.

    I do have a renewed sympathy for car drivers. I sold my truck this past week and am driving a loaner for a couple of months until my truck arrives. It's obviously been a long time since I have driven a car. It is intimidating in traffic. I'm use to seeing every car in front of me, at least up to the next hill. In my loaner, I can't see beyond the car in front of me. I have no idea if he is going slow or if there are 25 cars in front of him. I look to my left and I see car doors or tires. I'm use to looking down and seeing people. I feel totally enclosed in traffic. The worst, though, is that other drivers treat me totally different. In the past few days, I have seen cars change into my lane when there is, maybe, 2-3 car lengths or less. They never did that when I was driving my truck.

    I don't blame any of these drivers for their actions. I may sympathize with car drivers, but I certainly wouldn't want to be one for any length of time again. Give me my big truck in traffic. I'll pay the extra gas, and have a lot less stressful trip home. I've got to believe that the safety features of driving a pickup in traffic are often overlooked because of the lower gas mileage. Visibility, plus the size that makes people think twice about invading your "safe" space with the auto in front of you, makes for a much safer commute.
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22

    I agree with you; it is intimidating for car drivers, even in regular traffic, to look to their left and right to see monstrous tires, fenders, and sidepanels, while looking behind them to see towering grilles and chrome bumpers.
    So what I think is happening is some sort of "herd" response to this. People are plain tired, as you say, of not being able to see over, or around the vehicle in front of them (Though they might be able to see under a 'Burban ;). So, they're getting into the SUV & truck club. This in turn, puts more people in larger vehicles, negating their advantage. Taken to its extreme, if everyone were driving SUV's and trucks no one could see ahead anymore, just like when most people drove cars.
    Oddly enough, though, I find driving in traffic with a truck nerve-wracking, while commuting in my Nissan is easy, even in killer traffic. With a truck or SUV, you give up the point-and-shoot maneuverability that will get you out of trouble. In certain circumstances on the freeway you're just along for the ride, whereas in a car you could do something to avoid.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    I like to think that my truck driving habits have been tempered by my hobby. That hobby being motorcycling which any rider who wants to be ALIVE rides defensively. I have noticed that my truck habits are the same. Sure, I hate bone-heads but I always tell myself to let it go. Otherwise I'll be no better.
  • mikec13mikec13 Posts: 26

    To feel nervous due to lack of maneuverability is almost amusing. I found the handling of my new Ranger to be very good and the acceleration more than adequate for anything one would responsibly need to do in a vehicle. I'm quite sure that this also applies to most new trucks/SUV's these days not just compact pickups. Actually this probably has a downside in that as the number of large vehicles with decent handling goes up so does the temptation to throw them around in traffic. An aggressive truck makes a larger, longer lasting impression than an aggressive car so there's part of the image problem.
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    Mikec 13:

    I should have been more clear. "Truck" does, after all, mean many things. Our truck is a chevy 1-ton extended cab dually diesel, not a ranger. At least in a Ranger, one has something of the responsiveness, acceleration, and performance of a car.
    Our truck outweighs most cars 2-1 or 3-1(!), is half-again as wide as a car, and is twice as tall. It also accelerates 1/2 as well, and corners with all the alacrity of an unwilling camel (~.5-.6g). I mean, this truck is about as far you can get from a car unless you get a Hummer.
    While driving it on the freeway, none of that matters. Traffic literally parts for me. I develop that same "attitude" as the original poster talks about. Still, on surface streets, there's no getting around the fact that it's a 6000lb+, 16ft+ long, 8ft wide truck. Changing lanes in this thing is. . .interesting. It'll never be nimble, nor chuckable, and those are the two qualities I like in traffic.
    Don't get me wrong; I love my truck, 'cause it'll pull whatever I want whenever I want wherever I want. I just don't want to commute with it every morning.
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    I beleive part of the problem is that those former car owners who are "joining the club" that hcombs0 mentioned just aren't used to having 6.5' to 10' of "nothingness" behind them called a truck bed.
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    I'm sure we've got some die-hard truck guys around here, and let's get the other side of the argument:
    Is there a "car attitude"?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    In my opinion, car attitude takes two forms:

    1) The whole "right to own a car" attitude of the entire country - the personal freedom, the temporary "in command" feeling, etc.

    These are the people who, while they may not be the most aseertive or skilled behind the wheel, would die a thousand deaths without a car.

    2) The performance/maneuverability attitude. The one who drives the pocket rocket and darts in and out of every situation on the road just because he physically can.

    Driving a 4X4 dually, I get these types in my blind spots all the time. Even with 6x9 mirrors and plenty of glass, if you're right next to the right rear wheel in a low car, I can't see you at all... then out of nowhere, a Hoda CRX will whip around me and cut in front like a kid sneaking ahead of you in a line while you weren't paying attention.
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    I almost creamed a new 'vette the first week I had my new truck 'cause he insisted on sitting in my blind spot. The top of his car was lower than my bed rails, so even when I turned to check my blind spot, I still couldn't see him. Motorcycles are even harder to see. I've started taking extra time before lane changes now.
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    I'd add that many car drivers rely far too much on their manuverability. Driving my Crewcab diesel for 5 years has taught me to plan things like lane changes that I never worried about, even in my old 460 regular cab. I see so many smaller vehicles scrambling about that it makes me shudder sometimes.

    I'd add to that the tendency of smaller faster vehicles (and I'm sure I did this in the past) not to take advantage of things like freeway onramps. I do 0-60 in 18-20 seconds. Few things frustrate me more than being behind a sports car doing 30 up 90% of the entrance ramp and zipping up to 70 right at the end. Some of us need the extra acceleration space!

    Don't even get me started on geo metro sized vehicles not being able to stay in their lane, or park in one spot... I think its just a case of active vs. passive driving styles. With a larger vehicle, you're always thinking and planning.

    Just my US$0.02
  • E3MP6E3MP6 Posts: 70
    Why are double parked Geo's a problem? I thought you said you had a Crewcab Diesel. *smile*

    BUMP BUMP "Was that a speedbump or a Geo?"
  • ruzruz Posts: 59
    great discussion here! I drive a small truck (a '92 Nissan Shortbed) but even in that, I get a sense that people notice me (and therefore pay attention to me and don't do things like cut me off) more than they would if I were in a car.

    Of course, with all the Suburbans, Navigators, Durangos, etc., on the road, my little truck is starting to feel more and more like a Honda Civic every day...
  • pam2pam2 Posts: 185
    It IS very frustrating to drive a regular or small sized car (I have an Integra, my boyfriend has a Civic) with all these huge trucks, etc. on the road!! I'm short anyway and I just can't see around these people!!

    For the big rig drivers - I also used to drive a tractor/trailer. I remember the blind spots and not being to stop "on a dime". I ALWAYS tell people not to drive beside a big truck's passenger door. That would be like having a tricycle beside the passenger door of a car. Can't see it!!!

    So far, the best explanation about the pickup truck "attitude" is that these are the muscle cars of the 90's and lots of crazy kids are driving them. I still think there's a certain "truck mentality" (no offense to any of you pickup truck owners/drivers). A lot of guys who want a big, manly truck also want to bully others on the road. Don't they say that a man who buys a big truck is trying to make up for a lack of size in other areas? Hey, hey, hey!! That's a joke!!

    Point taken about the little sports cars darting in and around traffic, though. I see that, too. I know people who drive like that!!

    Bye, y'all!

  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    A good rule of thumb for blind spots is a saying that I've seen printed on the backs of many big rigs. "If you can't see me in my mirrors, I can't see you."
  • hcombs0hcombs0 Posts: 22
    Worst case Scenario: the darty car driver(as kcram et al. have described) gets a large truck/SUV, etc.
    This is what drives everyone (car and truck drivers alike) crazy about the SUV craze--people driving Explorers, Durangos, and Suburbans(!) like the small(er) cars they used to have. I'm not an SUV or truck "basher" in anyway; personally I think they're useful, safe transportation, especially in bad weather. But I think we can all agree the most dangerous component of any car/truck/space-shuttle is between the driver's ears. If he thinks he can drive that new Durango or F-150 or Explorer like the Camaro they traded in, all the people on the road with him are put at risk.
    It's like it is with anything--motorcycles, cars, trucks--a few bonehead drivers give everyone a bad name.
  • richflynnrichflynn Posts: 147
    Out here in California I've been driving a F-250 in various form since '86. They've all been diesels, so no acceleration. I've noticed two things since I got my first truck.

    First, because of the height, you can see a lot more OH DO-DOs!
    Second, I can see a lot more of the antics of the BMW type. Usually the lower the BMW model number (or dark cheap MB or cheap Acura) the worse the antics.

    Do I have an attitude? ABSOLUTELY! My problems? The idiot who matches speed with yours so you can't change lanes to the front nor behind. The idiot in your blind spot. The idiot you can't see in any of the three mirrors because they're so close to your rear bumper. The idiot that gets upset because I can't read their mind when they want to change lanes w/o signaling. I'm sorry, but my school didn't offer Mind Reading 101. Yes, unfortunately it is sometimes necessary to be aggressive and intimidating.

  • bogiemanbogieman Posts: 12
    I agree on some of the worst drivers being found in Dallas! I have had 16 trips x-country and a few miles under my belt and still fear young girls in small cars most of all! They have no concept of what it takes to stop a car moving at 50-60-70 MPH.... and seem to spend half their time checking their hair in the rear view morrors! We are often blamed in Florida for being careless "older drivers" ..... yet the police I know find that many accidents were precipitated by a young, inexperienced, inattentive driver who created a crash scenario for someone else!
    I must confess tho.... its so much better driving the F-150 as I can see ahead so much better and am able to avert potential problems.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Whatever, Dallas, Jersey, New York and Philly does it matter? Crappy drivers are everywhere.
  • barbwvbarbwv Posts: 4
    Just having been in an accident with an F-150 which totaled my small car I can tell you I will never have another small car. We are currently in the market for a truck, preferably one with the 3rd door. Not really a great time to be looking for a new truck (GM strike, end of model year) but the idiot driving the F-150 gave me no choice. Bad drivers are abundant in this state too but I believe most of them are Ohio immigrants!
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