Welcome to Top 5 Fun Friday, a regularly-occurring blog feature where I give you a list of extremely specific pointless shit from my life no one asked for. Why? Because the internet is incredibly un-fun in 2020 and I miss blogging. It’s Friday and these will be fun! This week’s list…
Top 5 Worst Drivers By Car Type
Colorado drivers are largely shit. I know this because I live here. I was born here, grew up here, and except for one strange year I lived in Texas, have spent the vast majority of my time here. This is literally the only place I have ever been where a certain breed of timid pantywaist will stop on an on-ramp to get on the highway – a move so mystifying and counterintuitive it never fails to leave me both baffled and seething. Snow is the exception. Colorado drivers are great in the snow and you can always tell who moved here from somewhere else when the flakes start falling.
Having fairly recently visited California, I am willing to entertain the idea that Californians who emigrated here are actively making our roads worse. Merging here is tough. Merging in California seems to be viewed by other drivers as an act of war. The highway is lunacy in California, but not a lunacy that makes sense like in Illinois where everyone drives aggressively, but in a predictable way. I love Chicago drivers. They’re the only ones who seem to be able to creep into the intersection to make a left turn with any regularity. And they honk at you in a way that always feels hilarious.
However, no matter where you go, you can pretty much guarantee some things will always be the same. Like shitty drivers by car type! How many times have you been cut off in traffic or shaken your head when you see some nitwit incessantly texting, and thought to yourself, “Figures. They’re driving a _____.” Here are the cars I find myself saying that about most.
If you own one of these cars, I’m almost certainly not talking about you. Unless I am. Your paranoia is your own business.
Let’s get this one out of the way. If you’ve read me for a long time, you know my history with this make and model. For those of you new here, more than a decade ago I wrote what I thought was a throwaway blog post on a new defunct website as part of a series we called “Things We Hate.” It was a numbered series and it was designed to lightly slag on whatever pointless minutia bothered us on a given day. Entries included fauxhawks, the way people crowd around baggage claims, and business cliches.
So one day I write one about “Jeep Wrangler People” and don’t think too much about it. To summarize: Jeep Wrangler People are like crossfitters or Grateful Dead fans in that a disproportionate number of their enthusiasts will not shut the fuck up about their passion. Something like a YEAR after I published it, the comments started blowing up and didn’t stop for two more years after that. Literally EVERY DAY there would be hilarious new butthurt comments either defending the Wrangler or just attacking me. Outside of Pittsburgh Steeler fans, these were probably the most humorless group of people I’ve ever encountered. I suspect my article was posted on some Jeep enthusiast forum (can you imagine the tidal wave of douche contained therein – it’d be like when that elevator in The Shining cascades a wall of blood), and everyone marched over to my site to give me what for.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people I like who either own or would like to one day own a Wrangler. Fine. Just know that you’re not getting a car, you’re likely signing up for a whole insufferable lifestyle that encourages you to get dorky spare tire covers, insipid bumper stickers that say things like “It’s a Jeep thing. You wouldn’t understand.” and treat every casual jaunt through the city like you’re four wheeling in Moab.
The unofficial car of Colorado. These things are everywhere, and they’re Just. So. Ugly. Is it a sedan? Is it a station wagon? Is it a small crossover SUV? Why, it’s the Frankenstein’s Monster of all three designed for maximum ugliness! Delightful!
More importantly, damn near every Outback you’ll see will have an unbelievable amount of shit on it. Some are covered in a layer of filth usually reserved for cars unfortunately parked in the vicinity of a recent volcanic eruption. Others have stickers plastered all over the windows touting craft breweries visited, 14ers climbed, liberal political ideology, affection for dogs, or some combination of the above. Yet others will have thousands of dollars worth of racks and attachments on them. Picture every Outback you’ve ever seen. What percentage of them had at least one of the three qualities I just listed? How many had at least two? Most damning, how many had zero of these qualities?
It’s an exceedingly small percentage of them, right? I used to sell roof racks, trailer hitches, and all the bike, ski, cargo and other attachments for a time in college. I serviced more Outbacks than any other car by far. If I got a call from someone saying they needed their rack repaired, I knew one of two things had happened. 1. A Land Rover had broken off its ski rack while driving into the parking garage at Cherry Creek Mall. 2. A Subaru Outback had backed into something and screwed up its hitch mounted bike rack.
Outback drivers can’t see shit or perceive depth with all the attachments, stickers, probably a giant dog in the backseat, and filth turning their blind spots into full on eclipses. Driving near an Outback is like dealing with someone’s old pet who’s going blind and deaf. You never know what they’re going to do, but you know no matter how you approach them, they’re going to be startled and do something stupid.
If you can count on a Prius driver for one thing, it’s to be so cautious and deferential, they paradoxically become the most dangerous ones on the roads themselves. Stopping at cross streets where there is no stop sign. Failing to recognize a more than adequate merge window, which leads them to slow down and wait for, I dunno, EVERYONE to pass before they eventually change lanes. Waving you through at a 4-way stop even though it’s been their turn for what feels like five minutes while everyone behind them goes blind with rage.
I have no idea makes Prius drivers such ninnies – maybe it’s knowing that the car has as much get-up-and-go as a 14 year-old’s moped – but you’d think the freedom associated with having to buy less gasoline would loosen these folks up. It seems to work the opposite way. It’s almost like Prius drivers philosophically are apologizing at all times for being on the road at all. That’s a nice thought (I guess), but is counterproductive to any of us getting where we need to go with a minimum of annoyance. And this is less true than it used to be, but you used to get a healthy dose of sanctimony from Prius owners about why they owned one. Their sanctimony crown has been usurped (more on that below), and now it’s mostly just a wimpy car driven by people who look as comfortable driving it as our outgoing President Eats Like a 4th Grader would at an Ethiopian restaurant.
Tesla Model S
First of all, fuck Elon Musk. Not to be too much of a hipster, but I’ve hated this lunatic sociopath since way before it was cool. I’ll admit SpaceX is doing some rad stuff, but the rest of his horseshit is carnival barking snake oil salesmanship. Second, Teslas are for people who think they’re car people but don’t actually know anything, which is why it was perfect that Dinesh on Silicon Valley drove one.
“Dude, it’s got INSANE MODE.”
Neat. You live in the city and don’t even know how to parallel park properly.
As if this country didn’t have enough big strong businessmen that a disproportionate number of slobbering fanboys worship, we have the false idol of Tesla. Don’t believe me? Here are some pertinent numbers. There were 367,500 Teslas sold in 2019, a company record. Feels like a lot of cars. But let’s compare that to Ford, who in 2019 sold 5.4 million cars, and maybe it’s not that many. Surely the financials of those two companies reflect their sales, right?
As of this writing in the first week of December 2020, Tesla stock is at $558.12 per share with a market cap of $400 billion. Ford? $9.18 per share with a market cap of $35.8 billion. So many wealth-humping, jock-sniffing finance goons all shit their dicks over this stupid brand, and it seems like only a matter of time before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. The only thing that explains this discrepancy is drooling finance pegboys who love this company’s swaggering bullshit.
Until then, I guarantee you’ll see these gaudy status symbols parked straddling the lines outside whichever is the most insufferably chic co-working space in your city.
Any lifted truck
A simple matter of practicality here as trucks are already enormous, and a lifted truck simply adds to the challenges of navigating around them. It’s the reason long haul truckers, bus drivers, and RV owners have to earn a special license. Piloting something this big requires some practice and should ideally require some sort of third party verification that you can do it properly. Alas, no such requirement exists, so the rest of us get to attempt to avoid these monstrosities when they lumber down the road like that boulder from the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Plus, I’ll always have a schadenfreude soft spot for goofy macho posturing, which is what so much of this is. I used park on the roof of the Greyhound bus station once upon a time. Some goober with the biggest damn truck I’ve ever seen parked there, and he had classy decals all over the thing. I’d rather be Cummin than strokin’! Lift it cuz fat chicks can’t jump! and the like. If there wasn’t an actual decal of Calvin pissing on the logo of another auto manufacturer, you can understand why there’s one there in my mind.
Anyway, one glorious day, the pilot of this rolling mastodon hops out of the cab and he’s built like Frankie Muniz circa Season 2 of “Malcolm in the Middle.” Him just a widdle guy! In his big, important truck! So strong! So tall! No one can call him short stuff anymore, no sir! Not in his truck beast cocoon, free from (apparently) fat chicks!
I don’t care if a dude is short. Why would I? But I’ll bet you a million billion dollars that if I asked him why he had a truck of such size, “because I’m short as fuck” would never, ever exit his lips. And that absurd level of overcompensation and self-delusion will never not be funny.