Andrew Pollack's Blog

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SUV Myths and Stupid Prejudices

By Andrew Pollack on 06/27/2006 at 10:30 AM EDT

I'm sick of hearing about evil SUV drivers. Let me post of a things to consider as you people make your snide comments. Note, by the way, that my present car is a Pacifica which is actually much more like a station wagon than an SUV -- though I do miss my Durango. I'm writing this after getting fed up with things like this stupid article.

All SUV are too big for their owners and waste fuel? Not always true. While visiting my family a few years ago in Phoenix, I rented a massive Ford Expedition. This monster had seatbelts for 9 adults to sit comfortably and still have room for groceries. I came out of a restaurant to find a note on the windshield declaring me an enemy of the environment. I wish I could have seen the idiot who wrote it. I would probably have tied him to a tree so he could watch me load myself, my wife, my three kids, the two car seats, the stroller, my grandmother, my grandfather, and my grandfather's wheelchair. Right, 7 people, two carseats, a stroller and a wheelchair.

SUV owners don't need four wheel drive? Say that to me when your house is on fire in the middle of the night, its snowing, and I'm driving to the fire station to get the truck. Think I'm a 'special case' then? There are 800,000 volunteer firefighters in the US compared to 300,000 full time. 40% of the US population live in houses protected entirely by volunteer firefighters. Don't get me started on emergency medical technicians and so on.

SUV owners make the roads less safe? Maybe, but they don't fair well in accidents. Who does best in accidents? People who drive mid sized modern sedans. I see more SUV rollovers than any other kind. When those little cars crumple, they absorb most of the force of impact. The airbags take most of the rest. Sure, the cars are totalled but the drivers and passengers do well. SUV and Pickup owners have vehicles with stiff, rigid frames. The shock is transferred right to the occupants who slam harder into the seatbelts and airbags.

So, the rest of you -- get the hell over it.


There are  - loading -  comments....

I call BullBy Rob McDonagh on 06/27/2006 at 01:18 PM EDT
Sorry, Andrew, the number of SUV drivers who actually need a huge, powerful
vehicle with 4 wheel drive is tiny *when* compared to the total number of SUV
drivers. Firefighters, EMTs, police officers, doctors, nurses, or weekend
off-roaders (and I may be forgetting some) have a legitimate need for their 4
wheel drive Yukon - but that fact doesn't mean Joe Sixpack tooling around
downtown Boston needs one. And the vast majority of those folks would do just
as well, if not better, to drive a lower car with 4 wheel drive, exactly
because SUVs (like old style vans) tip over sometimes.

I'm not a radical environmentalist (though my wife is), so the gas-guzzling
doesn't bother me. Well, other than in the general sense that we, as a
society, obviously have a big problem to solve - unlike diamonds, oil is NOT
forever.

My biggest issue with SUVs is the drivers - they tend to drive like raving
jerks. Arrogance appears to come with the keys. My favorite SUV trick is to
sit in the left-most lane, blithely ignoring traffic piling up behind you.
It's as though they think that because their car is bigger, they are now in
charge of the road. Not to mention the geniuses who haven't figured out that,
while 4 wheel drive in a very heavy car *does* mean you can drive faster in
snow, it most definitely does NOT mean you can stop faster. THOSE idiots wind
up causing accidents, and as you well know the person who causes the accident
isn't necessarily a victim of it.
You just notice them more. Stats say otherwise...By Andrew Pollack on 06/27/2006 at 02:54 PM EDT
Worst drivers in terms of speed & recklessness are not SUV drivers, they drive VW's.

An SUV in your way blocks your view more, so its more annoying and less easy to pass, but in general they are not getting more citations and in general are not involved in more wrecks.

True, there are many stupid SUV drivers in the snow who think they can go faster than anyone else (which is totally wrong, as the awd/4wd doesn't help on a snowy highway much, and those wide tires don't slice through slush as well).

You're wrong though about them causing accidents and driving off. In truth, they end up in the median on their backs.

The dangerous cars are teenaged drivers, tired drivers (anecdotally, I see a high number of nurses and other medical people coming home late from work and getting into trouble in rain or snow), and elderly drivers who drive in a manner which is unexpectedly slow or caution and change the road dynamic.
Generalizations generally don't hold...By Scott Gentzen on 06/27/2006 at 07:50 PM EDT
Two car family here. An SUV (Nissan Xterra, real wheel drive, I might add) and
a VW (Passat).

I've probably done more stupid things in the VW than the Xterra. I know I can
take an exit ramp at 65 in the Passat...the SUV teeters. :D The Passat does a
lot better in snow too.

The Xterra gets two thirds of the gas mileage that the Passat does but holds
twice as much cargo which is why we use it for the 300-mile round trips to the
beach we do during the summer and for yard projects.

Of course, the Xterra's kinda small for an SUV.

Assholes drive all kinds of cars. I'm more careful in an SUV than in anything
else and I can't be the only one.
damned greenieBy Ken Yee on 06/27/2006 at 04:48 PM EDT
"doesn't mean Joe Sixpack tooling around downtown Boston needs one"

Tell that to my brother who has a 4WD drive car and tried to park in a spot
after a snowstorm this year and high-centered so he had to get a shovel to dig
out some of the snow. I had no problems w/ my 4WD SUV, including driving out
of some spots (w/ snow 2-3' high) w/o shoveling. And yes, we both live in
Boston w/o a full-time garage like some suburbanite greenies...


"SUVs is the drivers - they tend to drive like raving jerks"

Not just SUV drivers nowadays. Most drivers. I saw some guy in a sedan
putting on hair gel w/ both hands on the highway up Rte 3. Try biking around
in Boston to see how bad it actually is (yes, this SUV driver has a road bike
but I use it in the suburbs and trails because city streets are too dangerous).

And on the damned greenie comment, some damned greenie wrote out "unsafe" on
the side of my car a few years ago and put scratches in the clearcoat by
pushing dirt around w/ their finger. Ironic given that my SUV was the first w/
car-level bumpers (front *and* rear), ULEV emissions, stability control, brake
assist to stop faster in emergencies, sturdy pillars so the roof doesn't
collapse, best real-life crash safety (not just IIHS stuff), and still gets
22mpg (my record is 26mpg on a tank of gas using cruise control on a long trip
to Maine; I calculated it using the gas receipts). Ironic that a clueless
greenie would write that and put one of those silly "your gas guzzling SUV is
killing our environment" flyers on my windshield, eh?
Damned Greenie? Bite me, you neanderthal fascist!By Rob McDonagh on 06/27/2006 at 10:41 PM EDT
Don't like the term in the subject line because it has nothing to do with who
your are? Welcome to the party.

"Damned greenie"?!? Get a clue. In what way did anything I wrote have
anything to do with the environment? I said I'm NOT a greenie, explicitly.
You want to pick an argument with what I said, go right ahead. But if you want
to pick an argument with the imaginary man in your head, keep it to yourself.

I repeat: Joe Sixpack tooling around Boston does NOT NEED an SUV. He may WANT
one. One MAY make his life a TINY bit easier. But he does not NEED one the
way a forest ranger or rural firefighter does. Your brother got stuck in the
snow, and therefore he has a NEED for an SUV? Boo-freaking-hoo. This is New
England. People who can't handle a shovel ought to move someplace a bit warmer.

SUVs suck. They suck because the block the view of everyone behind them who
isn't in one. They suck because they make the people who drive them behave
like morons, surrounded by so much metal they surely must be invincible. They
suck because when the DO hit some other car, their drivers may be wonderfully
safe but the poor bastards in the car they drove right over are going to need
to be medivacc'd to a hospital. They suck because they take up too damn much
room on the roads. They suck because they take up too damn much room in the
parking lots. They suck.

See anything in there about gas mileage? Anything about the environment? Go
find a real "greenie" to argue with. If you want to fight with me, pay
attention to the freaking subject at hand.
My own thoughts on this are...By LR on 06/27/2006 at 11:45 PM EDT
Here, here Rob... I agree SUVs suck for all those reason you mention, not to
mention the stupid 4ft women (and I'm a woman) who drives it without being able
to see over the dash - more problems.

And I'll jump on the environmental bandwagon just for fun - they do use way
more gas than a normal car when used in normal situations (driving to the
shops).

I have no problem either with people who actually need one - either for 4WD
capabilities, or for mass transit capabilities. But if you can afford to buy
an SUV, then buy a cheap, small car to drive around town when there's only one
person in the car.
"They suck because they take up too damn much room in the parking lots"By Ken Yee on 06/29/2006 at 07:46 PM EDT
Measure the length of one. They're shorter than a Camry (and other mid-size
cars) on average. You're making generalizations w/o specific examples to back
up your comments.

Your thoughts are tangential at best (yep the thought process of a you know
what :-)

And what's with this "need" thing? That's another thought process of a you
know what :-)
ahhhh the ironyBy Ken Yee on 06/29/2006 at 10:04 PM EDT
Now I get where the "need" thinking comes from :-)

"Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over
all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascist

ROTLMAO
Oooh, how clever!By Rob McDonagh on 07/02/2006 at 01:20 AM EDT
Let's see if I can follow. I'm not that bright, after all, so I may have to go
look something up.

So. Somebody mocks you by pointing out that your assumption of that person's
politics is faulty, using the intentionally ridiculous example of fascism as an
errant assumption about your own politics. You then decide to pretend that the
person in question probably doesn't know what the word means ('cause he's
clearly intellectually challenged...), so you quote a definition, link to it,
and label it ironic.

Hm. Maybe I should quote a definition of ironic for you; it might help. You
seem to have a nebulous grasp of its meaning.

You think that the fact that I mock SUV owners who own a larger, more
expensive, and infinitely more annoying car than they NEED to means that I
somehow want control over every aspect of everyone's lives? Does the fact that
I mock Porsche owners for the same reasons (minus the 'larger') mean I want to
ban sports cars? Does my intense dislike for country & western music mean I
want veto power over every song that gets published?

Maybe you should go back and re-read that definition of fascism. To quote
Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you
think it means."
It's not the length, it's the width...By Rob McDonagh on 07/02/2006 at 01:05 AM EDT
...and I'll leave the innuendos to the Peanut Gallery.

What, exactly, does a car's *length* have to do with how much room it takes up
in a parking lot? Must be city-dweller logic, us dumb suburbanites just can't
keep up...

The "Need" thing came from Andrew's original post. You know, the one I
responded to? He brought up the question of a "need" to own an SUV and I
replied on that topic. Tangential? Not unless you're using some sort of real
fancy geometry.

Imply all you like that I'm a "you know what" - if it makes you happy, you can
imagine I'm a socialist, too. Or a pinko. You'd be wrong. Again. But go
ahead, be wrong, no skin off my nose. Whatever makes you happy, because it's
all about you anyway.
Well, I am one of those who needs my SUV...By Rock on 06/28/2006 at 12:45 PM EDT
I have a 2001 Ford Excursion with the Triton 6.8L V10 engine , 4WD, and a tow
package.
I have:
** 5 kids
** 2 big dogs
** a horse

There are very few vehicles on the market today that can tow a horse trailer
with two horses without burning up the engine or transmission. A horse
trailer's tongue weight is massive - it isn't like a boat where you can simply
pick it up and sit it on the trailer hitch. A two-horse trailer is probably
around 4,000lbs. Each horse weighs around 1,200 - 1,500lbs. You're talking
about a towing object weighing about 6,000 - 7,000lbs. There aren't many
vehicles on the market that can tow that regularly without serious damage. And
before you ask, yes I tow that trailer with two horses regularly - at least
twice a month to horse shows (closest is 1 hour away; farthest so far is 4
hours away), plus the miscellaneous usage (picking up new horses for friends,
etc.). Oh, and I used my 4WD last weekend as well. Something that weighs as
much as my vehicle plus trailers gets stuck in the mud at these shows pretty
regularly, and 4WD is about the only way to get out.

And then we have my family - 5 kids, 2 adults. We take vacations and trips all
the time - and 7 people in a smaller vehicle is miserable, plus I would have to
tow a trailer to haul all our crap if I had a smaller vehicle. As it is I can
fit everyone AND all their luggage into my Excursion and my base sanity level
is acceptable (before the "he's TOUCHING ME!" crap begins on the trip).

So, I do agree that there are SOME people out there who have SUVs and don't
need them; but then again, there are people out there with Mustangs, Corvettes,
Jaguars, etc. that don't need them as well, so big deal. As for me, I can
easily justify why I have my Excursion.

--Rock
Of course you need one, but your Mustang comparison is flawed, to meBy Rob McDonagh on 06/28/2006 at 01:36 PM EDT
Hey Rock,

Sounds like some pretty damn good reasons to have an SUV to me (you had me at 5
kids, 2 dogs.....). The line about Mustang/Corvette/Jaguar owners not needing
that type of car doesn't work for me, though. I'm guessing you mean that those
cars get lousy mileage, so they're just as bad for the environment? Could be
true, I'm not up on the mileage stats, but it wouldn't shock me. I'm sure
"muscle" cars aren't the only ones that are as bad as SUVs, either. Odds are
anybody driving an 8 cylinder isn't getting great mileage, and plenty of
"sporty" 6 cylinders aren't impressive either.

My issues, though, have nothing to do with mileage. SUVs inconvenience those
of us in smaller cars in a number of ways (it's the size, mostly - large pickup
trucks, campers, big vans, and trucks are also annoying for the same reason -
SUVs get the attention because they've taken over the country). So they annoy
us. Which isn't the worst thing in the world. But it is legitimate
annoyance. It doesn't mean you shouldn't own one. But it does mean you're
ticking off the people around you. In your case, for good reason. In other
cases, though, the reasons aren't good - and that turns a minor annoyance into
a bigger irritant.
I see your point...By Rock on 06/28/2006 at 04:11 PM EDT
What's funny is that it depends on the area you live in too. Around here (rural
Georgia) everyone drives a SUV, truck, or van so everyone is "big". In fact,
what's really weird about the area I live in is that you'll see one of the
above types of vehicles first, and then motorcycles are EVERYwhere - I swear
almost as much as traditional cars. I know that if it is only me, or me and one
other person from the family, I take my bike (97 Honda Shadow Spirit 1100cc) -
and a bunch of other people around here seem to have the same idea.

--Rock
I drive an SUV AND I'm a complete bastardBy Jon Johnston on 06/28/2006 at 01:14 PM EDT
A Saturn VUE. Not a big SUV, but if we had to separate everyone and shoot the
SUV drivers, I'd prefer to be shot than to live in a world where people can't
drive whatever the hell they feel like driving.

Not to mention, I'd guess that SUV owners are more likely to own guns.... I'd
guess that the SUV owners would out-survive the hybrid owners.

BTW, I was a complete bastard before I had my VUE. I'll be a complete bastard
after it's gone. And for all of you out there who are just plain bastards, try
harder, will you?
If you can HAVE an SUV **AND** drive it into London without a valid reason, then you are a bastardBy GeorgeChiesa on 06/29/2006 at 06:04 AM EDT
I have an SUV, and I do not drive into London ONLY WHEN for a reason (else, you
just take the damm train).

When I do drive the SUV I do it for a reason and I take calls with handsfree
set.

What I AM RANTING ABOUT is that, OBVIOUSLY the majority of assholes who drive
an SUV into London for no reason other than to talk on the phone DO NOT
represent the large majority of people who own and use an SUV responsibly.

a.k.a. with THAT sample, inference does not work both ways.
ouch, no edit button, well, "I DO drive into London ONLY WHEN for a reason"By GeorgeChiesa on 06/29/2006 at 06:05 AM EDT
well...By Craig Wiseman on 06/30/2006 at 11:44 PM EDT
If the rational is purely "driving through snow", then an outback or
something like would serve equally as well.
For me, I have a 2001 Suzuki XL-7. Smallerish SUV, built on a real frame, has
three rows of seats (rear row for sub teens). REAL 4x4 is an option. It's
gotten me through 145,000 miles with no repairs (been rear-ended 3 times,
though).
Why? I needed the three rows, carry equipment, and I was just tired of front
wheel drive. Also getting 5 years, 0% interest was suhweet.

My line has always been "God endowed me quite well, thanks. I don't need to
compensate for any, uh, smallage areas..."

And yes, Rock, I live in God's backyard (deeeep US South), and most other
folks drive what you describe as well.
Just to clarify...By Craig Wiseman on 07/01/2006 at 12:28 AM EDT
IMHO, you should get a vehicle that meets your practicle needs, is reliable,
affordable, and looks nice.
Within those reqs, I think you should include being as kind to the environment
as reasonably possible. I actually believe that for ´
Hmm. I posted that from my Treo, and less then half made it to the server.By Craig Wiseman on 07/01/2006 at 10:49 AM EDT
IMHO, you should get a vehicle that meets your practicle needs, is reliable,
affordable, and looks nice.
Within those reqs, I think you should include being as kind to the
environment as reasonably possible. I actually believe that for religious
reasons - being given dominion over the earth means more that just "use it up
as quick as you can - before someone else does."
If you're buying a vehicle because it makes your pulse race or you think the
opposite sex will find you more attractive, well, those just don't seem to be
good reasons.
But that's just me.....
re: SUV Myths and Stupid PrejudicesBy J Naar on 02/01/2007 at 03:04 AM EST
Hey

I live in Miami Florida which is the Land of the Rolling Giants.
Does Miami have snow? - NO
Does Miami have cool off-road Truck parks? -NO
Hills ? -NO
Fools that think itu2019s safe to be using the cell phone and driving a 3ton
Sedan Guillotine -Plenty

I have no problem if you need a big truck (not SUV) because you are a self
employed contractor and have equipment on the flat bed or you have an SUV for
the occasional BIG family road trip.

I have a neighbor that daily commutes 1 hr ALONE in his H3 and last week he was
informing me on the cheap gas station nearby. He complained about gas prices
being so high and I practically bit my tongue off trying to restrain from
laughing in his face.

It is amazing that some people donu2019t even realize that they are part of the
gas price problem. Another thing that gets me is that a tax cut was passed for
H2 buyers
among other large vehicles. Hopefully sales keep slumping and those who really
need large vehicles are the only ones buying and all the SUV Fad posers will
downsize.

I agree that there are many types of dangerous drivers but still every time I
imagine the aftermath of a
Lone SUV driveru2019s collision with a sedan full of unsafe teenagers, I
canu2019t help but shudder.

Sorry for all the grammatical errors its 3am & I had to
partake in this discussion

Ciao
re: SUV Myths and Stupid PrejudicesBy Rob Stevenson on 07/15/2015 at 12:08 AM EDT
What's your qualification Andrew ?

What's your real score in science and mathematics ?

Once you qualify(which you never will), we will discuss further

Yes, I can see SUV duffers reproducing senselessly , passing their stupid genes
further and building an idiocratic society


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