Yesterday I ran across an article [Link] that attempted to explain the popularity of pickup trucks as individual motor vehicles. It failed, almost an archetype of what journalism is these days, failure and inaccuracy. But it did get me to cogitating on the question and I think I have a conjecture.
For the benefit of the religionist smugs out there who don’t understand what a theory is, let me offer the following model. If I have something on order one (1) sigma of confidence then it’s a conjecture; if two (2) sigma it’s an hypothesis, and is three (3) sigma it’s a theory. Bear in mind that means a theory is more certain and more accurate than 0.9 of all eyewitness testimony in a courtroom. So please don’t play that lame “it’s just a theory” bowel movement game. (I’ll discuss the ramifications of bowel movement games in another blot sometime.)
Anyway, the observation is that pickup trucks are inordinately hard to drive. In effect, there is less difference in the drivability of a semi trailer truck rig and a pickup truck than there is in the drivability of a pickup truck and a limousine. In effect, pickup trucks can no more be maneuvered in traffic than a truck thrice as large and hence must be maneuvered around. Since they are smaller and more numerous they represent a grave threat to the public welfare. (Which leads us to question how one is allowed to own one for not-businesses purposes?)
Given that pickup trucks cannot be driven well enough not to be a menace to be avoided and compensated for, it strikes that this makes them attractive to people who cannot drive competently or who cannot be bothered to drive competently due to mental or ethical laziness or those who are just plain pathologically apathetic about presenting a menace to society. Because a pickup truck cannot be driven competently the failings of these drivers will not be obvious and they will not be blamed, at least as severely. So in effect, for most people who drive pickup trucks – I am tenatively excepting those who use them for business – driving a pickup truck is a diversion from or camouflage of their own ineptitude, incompetence, or pathology.
The only thing not considered here is those folks who are so insecure in their driving that they want a fortress for a vehicle so that when they are in that wreck they know is coming, they will be injured less than they injure. I am not sure whether this qualifies as driving incompetence or just plain cravenness.
Anyway, if you see a pickup truck on the road, you may safely assume, as a matter of operational practice, that it is driven by a sociopath or a dolt and if this be proven wrong, be thankful no greater injury was sustained.