Charles Harries

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Big trux

Slate's article on the deadliness of big trucks is just the right level of incendiary journalism for me.

I missed it when it was published at the end of last month, but Slate's "Killer Truck, Dude" article is just the right level of incendiary for me.

The tl;dr is: large trucks are statistically a lot more likely to kill someone than any other mode of transportation, and the proportion of folks driving large trucks is only going up. I recognise that it's the sort of angry, reactionary piece of writing that doesn't actually seek to change anyone's mind—I get the sense that it was written more as a catharsis for the author and an opportunity for Slate to announce where they stand. But Dan Kois is right.

I went back to Canada for the first time in a few years recently. My mental barometer for vehicle size has been calibrated to European standards over the past four-and-something years that I've been here in the UK, and I was emphatically not prepared for the drive from Pearson to Cambridge: large trucks make up like 1 in 6 vehicles cruising around the salt-bleached roads of suburban Greater Toronto. I tooled around in a rented Dodge Caravan and even that felt like a mobile fortress from the elevated battlement of the passenger seat.

And for most people, a Dodge Caravan isn't even a big vehicle. It's a midsize family van—ostensibly too small for like a sixth of semirural Ontarians.

A big Ford and a contingent of folks who have
A big Ford and a contingent of folks who have "tested positive for freedom", who also have a truck parked up amongst em

I get that it's a war for the dominance over there: which road-timid person in their right mind would purchase a Fiat 500 when there are legions of Silverados and Rams ready to punt you off the 24, over a snowbank, and into the drive thru lane of the nearest Timmies? Better to drop sixty-five big ones on an F-250 and go for equal footing—or install a lift kit and try to get a leg up. Pedestrians and Fiat 500s be damned: at the end of the day they'll all be equally squished under 21-inch Goodyear mud & snow tyres.

All of which is a little topical, considering that there's like a global fuel shortage going on and owners of Big Trux are probably hurting just a little bit more than the rest of us. But hoo boy is that a topic for another day or what.

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