Random Comment About Owner Abuse

This is just a random comment about automotive abuse and neglect by vehicle owners; something I’ve mentioned a number of times. This case has to be right up there as Numero Uno in stupidity.

I live in an outlying rural area and was headed into town this morning on a rural 2-lane highway with a posted speed of 55.

A pickup is approaching me from behind and in the mirror something about the right front looks odd. As he got closer I figured it was the low, bright sun causing a shadow. This guy got on my tail about 2 lengths back and I notice that the RF looks odd because the RF wheel is canted outwards at the bottom by a full 10 degrees! Seriously.

So assuming this guy has the mother of all ball joint problems I slowed up and let him go around. As he passed I furiously pointed down at his RF wheel. He was using both hands on the wheel to hold this pickup (a very late model Dodge Ram 1500)on the road. He simply nodded “yeah” and gave me a thumbs up.

Since this guy is soon to be dead meat I hit the brakes to get away from him and I was literally stunned at just how bad that wheel was canted. I could see daylight under most of the tire tread since the tire was running mostly on the sidewall.

He was doing about 65 MPH so I tucked in about a block behind him because I knew there was no way he was going to get much further.

My inclination was to tail him and pull him out of the wreckage.

Sure enough, about a 1/4 mile after he passed me I saw the truck veer off onto the shoulder.

Dirt and weeds went flying and this guy was all over the place.

The RF wheel went flying into the barbed wire fence, where it went airborne and came back over the top of the truck, followed by going into the fence on the opposite side of the road.

The complete spindle assembly skidded across the highway and at this point the only thing still moving was the brake rotor, which went rolling at high speed down the highway all by itself.

I dodged debris on the road while slowing down and gave him a thumbs up when passing. Let the moron walk.

Found out later my daughter came by that spot about an hour later. One can imagine if the truck had crossed the center-line or the airborne wheel had gone through the windshield.

Just a rant anyway about the certain percentage of people who are given a license to drive.

In all seriousness, I would be afraid to have even moved that truck 10 feet in the driveway. It’s the worst case I’ve ever seen, not counting severe wrecks.

Guess this guy has a death wish or something.

I had a similar experience. Heading to a friend’s house one weekend during the summer, I stopped at the red light just down from my house. I noticed a van coming at me pretty fast in my rear view mirror. What caught my eye was the passenger side was dipping fairly low to the point I knew something was wrong. Of course I was stuck where I was, but this nimrod goes across the double yellow to my left, then makes a right across the front of me. As he is passing me, I notice he’s riding on a bare rim on his RF, and can’t slow down with no traction. He pulled this turn at about 30 MPH, and had to cross into oncoming traffic on the other side of the intersection to make the turn. Thank God noone was there at the time.

There are entirely too many suicidal maniacs with car keys running around.

You all should come down to the border. I live in a border town, and lemme tell ya-- they let ANYTHING drive across the bridge and onto our roads. I’m talkin’ no brake lights; no turn signals; shattered windshields; out of whack wheels; busted shocks/springs; bald tires; busted up front ends (broken headlights, etc…); smoking all kinds of white/black/blue smoke… you name it. My neighbor works for customs on one of the bridges, and I asked him abt their regulations. His response: As long as they can push it over the bridge, they’re good to go.

I find it a total outrage! Here I have to make sure my car is tip top for safety and emission inspections (and god forbid I go one day past inspection date-- the cops are all over me), yet there are literally thousands of safety hazards let onto our roads every day- and they get a free pass for some reason.

–And what really bites me deep, is you know where all these people go??—> Wal-Mart. And the local malls. ??? I’m like, come on! If you’ve got money to blow at Wal-Mart, how’s about you spend a few bucks on that rolling death trap of yours!?

Anyway. Sorry for the rant. This just happens to be a bit of a hot button for me.

This reminds me of an ex-colleague. On the way back to the factory he’s got a flat rear left tire, as I recall it was at around 10 PM or so. Since we 5 (except him) are driving a respective vehicle including a prototype and not allowed to stop for helping others barring any unusual circumstance so we left and had him handle it alone. 15 - 20 minutes later, we noticed a car approaching us from behind with furious pace. At first glance, the chaser seems like a paparazzi or something but not him, it is because he is supposed to be driving slowly with a temporary spare tire so we synchronized our speed with the chaser to see what happens. But the chaser is still trying to shorten the gap so we decided to get in an emergency mode to avoid being caught on film, unwillingly though.

As you might guess, it turned out that the chaser was him (A.K.A moron No.2). Luckily, the damage to the vehicle was less than $3000 (rear LSD - excessive wear due to the height difference. rear brake - overheated) but we have still no ides why he did do that such a stupid thing.

I’m assuming by “border town” you mean border with Mexico, not Canada. I understand most Canadian jurisdictions have regular vehicle inspections and the police are empowered to pull vehicles deemed dangerous off the road and issue citations. Also, Canadians are rich enough to afford regular maintenance.

Scary. Truely scary.

This morning I saw an old pickup with temporary plates that had the worst case of crab angle I’ve ever seen, no exaggeration. The rear tires were tracking an entire tire width to the right of the front tires. Th right front of the truck was also riding at least 4" lower than the left front of the truck, tilting the entire vehicle, and the tires all appeared the same size and fully inflated. I followed the truck into the highway (keeping my distance) and watched the driver trying to keep the truck in the right lane.

I sincerely hope that when he goes for his inspection he’s denied a sticker until someone does some major work on that vehicle. Unfortunately, he probably knows a “lick 'em & stick 'em” inspection station.

I wish I were a cop.

You can’t fix stupid. Just fixing my attitude took five years.

The most common defect on the roads today is loose nuts behind the steering wheels.

Haha have you seen the taxes we pay!? But I suppose “rich” is a relative term.

“But I suppose “rich” is a relative term.”

Very much so, especially when comparing Mexican average income to US or Canadian average incomes. That’s why Mexicans will come to the US illegally and work for exceptionally low wages. Low by our standards, that is.

My son each year sends me “The Darwin Awards”, an annual list of incredibly stupid actions by individuals, causing their untimely demise. Many of these actions are car-related. Is is a real eye-opener. There is also a movie out by that title, a collection of the most famous ones.

Well, that Dodge Deathmobile is still sitting on the side of the highway, although to his credit he picked up all the pieces and thew 'em in the bed.
Stopped and took a quick look and the right front is gone, and then some. Also noted that the left front has about 3 degrees of negative camber so it’s on the way out also.

That right front still amazes me. I’ve never seen anything canted that badly in my life. Or at least it was badly canted. The only thing that amazes me more is the fact that the guy had the courage to even open the door and sit down on the seat. One would think his weight would have finished it off.

Maybe this is one for the Darwin Awards, huh? :slight_smile:

One winter in the 70’s I was driving south of Sacramento on Highway 99 when a Firebird passed me doing about 90 mph. That is not noteable except its engine was hammering so loudly I heard it long before I spotted it in the mirror. It kept on motoring and hammering on until it was out sight and I mentally mused “I wonder how long that is going to last.” About 15 minutes later, I drove through a cloud of smoke; saw a fresh line of oil trailing off the highway; and at the end the Firebird with the driver getting out of the smoking car. I always wondered if he was hurrying to get to the dealership so it would not break down before he got there.

Maybe this is one for the Darwin Awards, huh? :slight_smile:

No, to earn a Darwin the “winner” has to remove himself from the gene pool, usually by getting himself killed, though I think self-castration is a valid qualifier if done in a spectacularly stupid manner. :wink:

Since we are sharing stories, here is one from when I was training as a truck driver. I don’t remember which state I was in, but I think it was on Tennessee or Georgia. I was tooling along at about 11:30 PM in the right lane and I spotted a minivan parked on the right shoulder, but it was parked right along the line that separates the shoulder from the lane. The driver made no apparent effort to park the minivan out of the path of traffic. I treated the vehicle as a potential hazard and wanted to move over one lane, but there was a line of cars in my way, so I slowed down. As I approached, a child walked out into the lane in front of my truck and bent over to pick something up. At this point I was about 60 feet away. I hit the brakes and the air horn at the same time and saw what I assumed was the child’s mother rush into the lane and pull the child out of harm’s way towards the front of the minivan. I will always wonder why the minivan was pulled over that way, and why the kid was allowed to roam into the lane unattended. I guess I will never know. We were all fortunate that I was alert. I guess the minivan might have broken down, but even if that was the case, they should have been able to push it to a better position out of the path of traffic. The road was uphill, so gravity should have done the work for them if the wheels were able to turn. The one thing that is etched into my memory is the look on the woman’s face as she whisked that kid out of the way. That air horn obviously registered a message in her head that her kid was about to be flattened and she acted on pure instinct. It was pretty amazing.

I am not proud to say this, but I am related to someone who was afraid to take his car for an oil change because it had been so long that he thought he would be ridiculed by the mechanic for neglecting it. So rather than take the car in for maintenance, he let it die. I fret when I think that this person came from the same parents as myself and that he is raising children, but what can you do?

Jeremy–You have named one of my pet peeves, namely people who don’t seem to understand that when one pulls off of the highway, they are supposed to pull as far off of the highway as possible. We all know how a bit of driver inattention can lead to a car wandering a bit in the travel lane. All you need for a disaster to happen is for one of the dimwits who park EXACTLY on the line separating the right lane from the shoulder to be there when an inattentive driver is wandering all over the place.

Luckily, you had your wits about you, but in this era of multitudes of self-absorbed cell phone yakkers and those who eat while driving, the combination of these two kinds of nitwits with those who don’t pull over far enough is the perfect formula for a disasterous accident.

Just saw a TV program where one of those guys piled into a police cruiser which had properly pulled off the road and had its lights flashing. Both cars were demoished; luckly the state trooper was out of his car when it happened.

That happens. I have never seen a case though, a rumor floating around that someone has died in an accident like that. The guy was doing a jump start and positioned between the vehicle then got sandwiched. I don’t know further details, Paul Harvey might have the rest of the story.

Had a cousin die in that type of an accident. He was working for a used car lot at the time. A bronco II that went out on a test drive quit running headed west on the local freeway. My cousin was sent by his employer to retrieve it. The Bronco was parked 2 feet from the fog line. While my cousin was looking under the hood a van, driven by an ederly man, traveling @ approx. 80 miles an hour wandered over the fog line and slammed into the Bronco. The impact was so severe my cousin was thrown 50 feet from the wreckage. He died at the scene from massive trauma. The van driver claimed the setting sun was shining in his eyes. No charges were filed. Just another reason not to work on your car along side the freeway.

A couple of years ago while on my way to Oklahoma City and loafing along on the Interstate at 65 MPH I noticed a late 80s Cougar coming up on me with the rear bumper dragging the pavement.
I assumed it was a heavily loaded trunk but when they passed it was 4 passengers in the car with 2 temporary space saver tires on the rear. These guys were perfectly happy doing some extended cruising at 75 MPH on a pair of those things.