Why do People insist on buying big SUV's or Pickup's and don't have a clue how to drive them?

People need to realize that driving a large pickup or an SUV requires a little more skill than drivng a smaller compact car. Trucks and SUV’s have different blind spot areas, you have to be extra careful when parking them because they don’t turn on a dime the way small cars do and don’t even get me started on braking! Just the other day I’m getting into my car and I’m watching this housewive struggle with parking her Ford Expedition. She almost hit another car! I swear they need to offer driving lessons for SUV’s and Pick Up trucks!

Because they think they can drive them when they don’t. To qualify for driving one of those requires more than driving lessons; pickups and SUVs need a licensing class on its own. When I got my license to drive a bus in college, they put me through a series of skill tests, including parallel parking and backing into a space at 90 deg with one of those things before they deemed me worthy of the examiner’s time for a road test.

When I was working at this construction company, I routinely had to drive my employer’s pickups and SUVs. While they do not turn on a dime, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can park one of those if you’re willing to back in. There often is very little room to swing the front end all over the parking lot just to pull in forward.

I agree. Great points by both chunky and kati. The biggest hurtles for these drivers I feel are, using their mirrors properly and being aware of the effects of rwd. And, some people are too physically small for the dimensions and seating of large suvs too.

One of the big unintended consequences of the original truck based suv’s was the increase in rollovers and fish tailing our of control when people bought them w/o rwd experience. This confusion is exacerbated when these people have both fwd and truck based SUVs in their driveway and have to move from one to another without using mirrors properly and paying attention to the drive train on slippery roads.

Proof…even the posts by some regular contributors here who drive fwd cars seem to indicate they are automatically better in snow then rwd cars and trucks. Not true…traction in snow has more to do with weight distribution, tires and clearance then drive train. This is why contractors in rwd truck vans can almost go any where, and novice rwd people must depend on the govt. and manufacturers to come up with traction control, stability control and, the over use of 4 and awd.

Full time Awd standard on these vehicles is the capitulation to lack of driving ability on owner driver’s part…next, standard automatic back up and back up cameras will be the capitulation to not using mirrors properly.

A veteran of rwd trucks can always drive a fwd car successfully, the opposite is seldom true with out lots of practice.
Sure I’ll get disagreement on these points…always have. :=)

I learned my snow driving in Colorado and upstate New York back in the '70s with RWD and did fine. But driving for everyday drivers is not about an exhibition of skill. Now that it is widely available, I’ll keep my AWD for the greater margin of traction and more sure footed handling in snow thankyouverymuch.

This is really a separate question from why people like SUV’s. I had an All-Trac Corolla for years (yes, they made those), now driving a RAV4.

I own an SUV…and I agree there are plenty of SUV owners who haven’t a clue how to drive. My biggest gripe with new SUV owners is they think they’re invincible…so they drive at 70 during a snow-storm…then wonder why they ended up in the ditch.

I probably wouldn’t own a SUV if I didn’t do any towing in the summers. Family Ski-trips are nice with an SUV.

Agreed about a lot of SUV drivers. We do have an Explorer, the 19 year old didn’t learn to drive in that vehicle (that was our Taurus and the Tauri that the drivers’ schools seem to favor), but he was anxious to use it. First lesson to him about that was - you have better traction, but you have no better stopping power (momentum is mv and there ain’t no friction or traction variable in that, and “m” is bigger so you better watch your v).

Why do families like ours have SUVs? A number of reasons. They do combine space and AWD/4WD. Only some minivans do that, none worth sniffing at (Grand Caravan yeech back when we bought the truck). Big back for loads, you can practically camp in the vehicle and we have. Those who tow (we planned to, but didn’t get that travel trailer) need them. Consider that for those with one vehicle, as our family was until very recently, that vehicle needs to be capable of all the possible needs.

Now, famillies’ desires for SUVs are less with all the crossovers now available.

There is the SUV macho thing going on, too, where people want to be seen in their SUV’s. It’s like how in Texas, where I grew up, every teenaged boy just had to get a PU. But it’s not the whole story, and, y’know, sometimes everyone but Daddy is thinking minivan, but Daddy won’t go that direction. So SUV it is.

Agreed about a lot of SUV drivers. We do have an Explorer, the 19 year old didn’t learn to drive in that vehicle (that was our Taurus and the Tauri that the drivers’ schools seem to favor), but he was anxious to use it.

I wouldn’t let any of my kids drive my SUV’s until they had been driving my wifes car for at least 4 months. They needed to get their skills first…Then I took them out driving with it so they could feel the difference. I wouldn’t allow them to drive it on their own until I felt they were ready. For my oldest that was when she was in her second year of college.

Unfortunately, SUV has encompassed a variety of vehicles. Like some of you, I would not own a truck based suv without needing it for towing and off road. Now our RAV is a different story…to me, it’s a raised wagon with awd, room and ground clearance. Many people can use these cars types nearly anywhere. And they’re easy to to drive.
Mike, I let my kids drive any car I had, including my SUVs and trucks…I wouldn’t let them sail my favorite catamaran. Priorities !

And the agreed misconception translates accross the board when every driver changes type.
Camry driver hops into a Corvette. The car can do 180 mph but does the driver have a clue ?

Car drivers too often hop right into the U-haul they just rented BUT…do they have any real idea how to operate a freight truck ?

Added to the problem of Suburban drivers accustomed to Camrys is the shrinking of parking lots. The travel lanes and parking slots have shrunk, it seems, and even to an old crusty driver with a Class B, getting in and out of congested parking lots can be a challenge in a pickup.

When I lived in Germany, there were a lot of accidents involving Americans. It’s not that the Americans can’t drive, it’s that they were trying to drive like a German. Someone who grew up at 100MPH+ is happy there, whereas we mostly grew up at 55-70.

Same holds true for the SUV/Truck vs car argument. my wife can toss her little Jetta around like no one’s business (it does quite well with 250HP and the weight of a roller skate), but put her into my 4Runner, and it’s a different woman. Much slower, easier in the bends, everything.

When we lived in England, she ran her little Renault 5 (it was the LeCar here in the US, I think) back and forth to school every day. With it’s 1.0 liter engine and 5 speed, it didn’t exactly win any racing records. One day, I was working on her car (drive axles), and she took my BMW. When she came back she told me all about how quick it was. Found out she was doing just over 120 on a back road frequented by tractors (the farm type). i made her swear not to do that gain.

While she’s a very good driver (better than most people I know, actually), the act of getting into the SUV is daunting. It’s only a bit longer/wider than the Jetta, but for someone accustomed to a small car, it’s a monster. And she wonders why I almost always back into parking spaces.

(sorry for the ramble)


I’ve driven Pick Up Trucks, I’ve driven SUV’s, I’ve driven Cars…I can handle all three with ease. I used to work for the government and where I worked was out in the middle of nowhere up in the high desert of Northern Nevada surrounded by mountains and a good portion of my job was driving on roads that didn’t have pavement and some didn’t even have gravel! And I drove around in a company owned Truck, a ford F-350 and I had to learn quick now to manuever that truck or I could easily go over the edge of a mountain. I had to back that truck into tight spots and pull out of tight spots as well. I’m lucky that I am 5’9 so I can pretty much fit into an SUV or Truck with ease. I prefer driving a truck or an SUV because I like being a little higher off the ground but I’ve never once had to engage 4wd while driving a truck through the snow while driving on the road.

They buy SUV’s because they think they can go through anything. It seems around here (on icy roads) they are the first ones in the ditch

4x4…studded tires. I can really go now!

Right in the Ditch … lol

I skid in the snow one time in a truck and I turned the steering wheel in the direction of the skid and let up on the gas rather than slam on the brakes because I knew that wouldn’t do me no good. But there is one thing I need to ask…If you get your rear tires buried in mud and your SUV or truck does not have 4wd what’s a good way to get your vehicle unstuck? I mean I got my dad’s F-250 stuck in the mud once but it has 4wd and I just hopped out of the truck, locked the hubs hopped back in, put it in drive and got out…

It seems that all the good drivers are on Car Talk, all others are ignorant!

They may be ignorant, but they have a life. ;=(

Who has a life??

I’m pretty sure that if you polled all the drivers in America and asked them to rate their own driving skills, you’ll get a pretty even split between:

  1. Best driver in the world
  2. superior
  3. above average

And then if you ask them to rate other drivers, you’ll get a pretty even split between:
1.Has no business behind the wheel
2. Awful
3. below average

I would guess many know they don’t drive safe, so they buy a bigger car hoping the size of the car will protect them from their lack of skill.