I drove my wife’s truck to work today, and it got me thinking about all of the different vehicles I have driven, and how driving those vehicles makes me feel. The experience of driving someone else’s car for a short amount of time is satisfying. However, when you drive the same vehicle for an extended period of time you get used to its oddities. I noticed I feel a little bit different behind the wheel and actually may drive them differently. I will give some examples, and see if any of them hit home for you.
1999 Ford Expedition 4×4 – This is my wife’s truck, my 5 ft. 2 wife’s truck. It is powered by a nice sounding V8 with oversized all terrain tires. When I drive this I can see in the windows of an 18 wheeler. As well as see over almost any vehicle in front of me. I noticed that when driving this one I really don’t care what other drivers are doing. I don’t slow down to let them on the highway. I don’t slow down to allow others to change lanes. I just generally don’t care. I have a feeling that if you don’t see me, you shouldn’t be driving, because you‘re obviously as blind as a bat. I also know that Mother Nature could almost throw her worst at me, and I’m going to get where I’m going.
1994 Jaguar XJ6 – This is my daily driver. Rough isn’t it? It is a larger British 4 door sedan with power everything and leather everywhere. I notice that when I drive this one I keep track of what’s going on around me. I let people on the highway. I drive making slower movements. I take driving this one a little bit more delicate. I put more distance between myself and other drivers when doing things like changing lanes or merging on the highway. Almost as if I want people to see me driving it, and be jealous. Kind of pretentious I know.
1970 Porsche 914 – This is my dad’s, but I have driven it a lot. Who wouldn’t? It is one of the smallest Porsches built from my 6 ft. 5 opinion. It has a loud, performance built air-cooled flat 4 that screams and pops, bolted to a doglegged shifting 4 speed. When I drive this thing, I have to watch everything. It is small and low to the ground, and I know it is difficult to be seen by other drivers. I drive it like I stole it. Within the guidelines of the law of course, at least most of the time. In this one I notice I make faster movements. Mostly because I think I’m afraid I’m going to get run over if I don’t. That and because the car does it and its fun when it does. I am a lot more cautious though. An accident in this one would hurt and hurt bad.
1966 Ford Bronco – This toy has an in-line 6 cylinder with a 1 barrel carb bolted to a 3 speed on the column. It has aggressive flotation size mud tires, a 2in suspension lift, bullet proof “plastic” windshield, 10 point roll cage and durable fiberglass racing seats. I like to call it the War Wagon. Needless to say this one is driven quite a bit different than the rest. When driving this one I have a get the Hell out of the way or else attitude. If you hit me, I guarantee it is going to cause more damage to your car than mine. Let me explain, it has been rolled, there isn’t a body panel on it without a dent, and the paint is a mix of the original color, rust, and dirt. If it gets scratched or dented again, all it will do is add to the personality, but your Prius is going to possibly be out of commission for a while. I’m generally not afraid of much driving this one.
1959 Ford Thunderbird – This one is my father-in-law’s, but it too has been piloted quite a bit by me. It is bright teal blue with a 352 FE Ford V8 bolted to an automatic transmission. Unless you’re color blind, you cannot miss this thing coming down the road. I would classify this one as a resto-mod. I have installed 4 wheel power disk brakes on it seeing as trying to stop this land yacht with drum brakes is like trying to emergency stop a cargo train. Other than that, it still has the charm a classic 1950’s car should. I have noticed that most drivers stay out of your way, almost to pay respect to this old dinosaur. I still keep a steady eye out for the usual inattentive driver though. I know that this thick metal beast (that probably has more metal in one of its bumpers than there is in all of a SmartCar) will still hurt me if involved in an accident. I am very careful in just about all that I do when driving it.
I understand that most people may not have the luxury of being able to drive different vehicles. Especially a list as diverse as mine, but pay attention to how you drive your vehicle or another. You will notice that you treat each one just a little bit different. At Oklahoma Technical College we teach our students to treat any vehicle you drive with the utmost respect regardless of its make, model, age or ownership. A customer’s car is the most important vehicle on the road. If it gets damaged while in your possession you are liable.
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