Pickup truck heroes

Ken Simmons
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Pickup trucks are the new muscle cars. They are powerful, fast and often driven, let's say, a little anti-socially.
I know, that's a rash generalization. But it is one that is gaining wide acceptance - just ask Twitter.
Or the RCMP. Officers arrested a driver Wednesday who they said was driving 176 km/h in a 100 zone near Deer Lake, and they impounded his truck. They also charged him with some version of reckless driving, and released him to appear later.

The marauding truck is nothing new on our highways. If you do any driving on the Avalon these days, you know you can't drive fast enough to keep ahead of all of them. There's always a truck filling your rearview mirror.

Search #nltraffic on Twitter and you'll get a fine list of comments about trucks and their drivers. "You'll never see a pickup in the right lane on the ORR," I read this week. Not too far from that was a photo of another truck on its roof alongside some road.

It's hard to put a finger on why all these trucks are burning up the pavement. I can tell you from a personal experience those things do get along quite impressively.

A big modern truck is comfortable and stable at speed; there's no sensation that you're moving exceedingly fast at all. Gas-mileage gearing means the engines don't have to work very hard at highway velocity, so that indicator is gone, too.

Really, the only thing keeping you from near doubling the posted limit is common sense.

And, as we know all too well, sometimes that's all too rare a commodity.

Another factor in all this may be the sheer number of trucks on the road. Maybe it's not that the pickup truck heroes are that much more aggressive; it's just that we are seeing so many more trucks as to make them stand out. Or that they are so much more imposing on the road than a small sedan that their extra speed twigs some special nerve in our worry zone.

I have felt that twinge. Once, a truck came up behind me, in the right lane, just as I was about to pull into it. He came up so quickly I didn't see him coming, and if I hadn't checked the mirrors a second time, he would have punted me well off the road, and you, dear reader, would be missing the vital words.

Another time involved a new, black dump truck, big and heavy. When that thing gets up a head of steam, nothing's going to stop it. That reality doesn't prevent the driver from whipping it along the highway at a painfully quick pace.

Give me a dozen pickup truck heroes over this guy, any day.



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