Why do people drive four-wheel drives in the city?

THERE’S a trend that is common in the US – driving four-wheel drive vehicles in the city – that seems to be spreading to other countries. These vehicles are meant to be driven on sand or gravel, they are very high-powered and are slow to take off from traffic lights.

They are very heavy, built of steel and will wreck an ordinary car if a collision eventuates. They also make visibility for those cars behind them impossible. Yet there are plenty of idiots who travel in these monstrosities in a city. Why?

With some, it appears to be the fear factor, so common in America, where people are pumped full of fear by the government, the media and everybody who has a voice in society. People figure that they have a better chance of survival if they are travelling in a four-wheel drive vehicle – not realising that when their time to die comes, they will croak no matter if they are bunkered down in a nuclear shelter.

Then there is the desire to do as others do, not to appear different. If one fool buys a four-wheel drive, others follow. And people like to appear “normal”, whatever that means. If everyone owns a four-wheel drive vehicle, then that becomes the norm. Keeping up the with the Joneses is another way of putting it but that doesn’t go down well with those who endeavour to do so.

There are plenty of reasons to avoid four-wheel drive vehicles. They consume much more petrol than the average car, are extremely expensive to maintain and are not meant for city travel. They are meant for negotiating desert tracks, mud roads and mountain paths. You only have to see a car that has been in an accident with a four-wheel drive to realise that anyone driving a four-wheel drive vehicle in the city is nothing short of an idiot.

One would think that with all the talk of peak oil and the oil price at very high levels, the car manufacturers would think twice about manufacturing such huge, unnecessary vehicles. But then, car manufacturers only look at ways of making money – if there are fools lining up to buy four-wheel drives, why the manufacturers will make them available.

Ultimately, it comes down to commonsense. Which is the commodity most in short supply, especially in the US of A.

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