the worst drivers in the world, with (slightly anecdotal) scientific proof

Car Accident Statistics 2019: are your elderly parents still driving? -  SYNERGY HomeCare

Everywhere I go, people say the same thing.  Our state is the WORST with drivers.  They say it as a sad point of pride.  I have done the real legwork, America, and I can tell you who is worst.  It’s Florida.  Sure, there is data that says Louisiana.  But, that kinda feels like picking on a kid who is mentally challenged and has down syndrome.  Now, this site says Montana.  That may be true in a mathy sort of way.  Like, they could have the highest deaths per motorists because there is only 7 people there.  AND… the buffalo HATE those people.  They (the good people of Montana) are all named Chet.  Did you know that?  I ain’t complain’ I’m just saying.  Plus, we aren’t here to talk shit about Chets.  There is no need for that, as Chets are, as a whole, a self selecting Darwin type creature that mostly kills itself.  Mississippi, home to roughly 43% of America’s Chat population reports most die in street fights or prison by the age of 30.

So focus!  We are only here to talk shit about Florida drivers.

I mean, you could look at traffic fatalities as a measure, that seems pretty empirical and important to know.  Except, its South Carolina…. Which doesn’t illuminate my point at all.  If I were writing a piece on the dangers of being named Emmit, that might be a good article.  Anyone named Emmit, like Chet above, is guaranteed to have a short life span.  A child given a name like that is 74% more likely to die in an event that follows the words ‘hold my beer, watch this’.

8 Ways to Stop an Elderly Person From Driving When All Else Fails –  DailyCaring

No no no.  we are here to talk about a single data point.  Something I saw driving in Florida years ago. It still haunts and confounds and amuses me to no end.  You can take your studies and stick them up your tailpipe, buster!  This one time in Florida, we were on a highway somewhere, going highway speeds.  The passenger points out the driver next to us, and says I must look.  I did.  It was an older middle aged gal (maybe 50?  55?) reading a paperback book while driving.  It was daylight, and we are all going around 70mph.  She is, also.   But she has a paperback book opened and braced against the center of her steering wheel.

*** let the record reflect this is not to mock older drivers, or women drivers.  Nothing to do with that  Geesh, I am 50 in 2 months.  It is to mock Florida as a whole.  Not that that takes a great deal of prodding.

Friday Fives – snowy war stories from a desert raised boy

   
This week at Mawson: 25 October 2019 – Australian Antarctic ProgramWhat is your worst winter driving story?

Oh, its now I met my truck. Not this truck i am in now, but my love of pick up trucks in general.  As to winter driving stories…  well, I have several.  I have done some driving on closed Colorado interstates during blizzards, by myself.  Note, when a highway is closed, even the plows don’t touch the roads.  And there are no taillights to follow.  What was I doing on closed Colorado highways in blizzards in the dark?  Delivering supplies to stranded motorists to shelters via our Red Cross disaster trailer.  So, yeah… I not only drove in that scary scary stuff (where you don’t know where the road is… everything is just white) with a trailer behind me.  This is what the Red Cross does for you.  This is what I do for you.

But that isn’t the most interest story, not to me anyway.  In college, I was delivering Chinese food for a living up in Flagstaff, AZ.  I was driving in a pretty ugly snow storm in my little Honda Accord (being raised in Phx, we didn’t have much snow practice).  Anyhow, I slid into the back of this gal’s pick up truck  She had a hitch on the back.  It was maybe 10 mph accident at most.  It destroyed the front of my Honda to about 3K of damage.  Her truck?  Not a dent.  Just some paint on the back of her hitch.  This was great news, as it was very much my fault.  She said ‘no damage here, we don’t have to call the cops if you don’t want to.’.  What a blessing. Not just because I was afraid of the ticket.  I wasn’t… I have hundreds of them.  But insurance not covering either vehicle since I was working and didn’t tell them.

She mentioned she was heading to work at the local tire shop.  Flagstaff is tiny, that meant only one place.  For the next three days I showered them with free Chinese food.  Kinda slightly embezzled from my employers.  Anyhow, after that accident, I never owned a sedan again.  That was around 1994, and I have only bought pick up trucks ever since.

*** in reading this over, doesn’t it feel like its about to end with ‘and that is how I met my wife?’  It does to me.  In a way, it was… were my wife a pick up truck vs a sedan.  I don’t think she will like that comparison or analogy.  Good thing I don’t let her read, eh?

Do you have a “Damn, I am the boss driving in this crap!” story?

Yes, I do.  All that stuff about driving very heavy Red Cross trailers in the dark in blizzards with zero visibility on completely closed (and so non plowed) freeways.  There is no exaggeration above. Maybe you think ‘hey, at least you can use your brights!’  Not even a tiny bit.  it reflects too much snow and becomes blindingly bright.  In fact, I remember times out there I drive with no headlights… all they did was create glare.  I used my parking lights.   Also, in case you think ‘at least GPS kinda kept you on the road, right?”  no sir.  it didn’t exist then as it does today.  Today’s consumer GPS (like your phone) is accurate within 50 feet.  Back then, you had to have a very expensive Garmin that was accurate to only 500 feet.

 Even more boss?   Once I got a few miles away from the shelter site, a copper saw me with the Red Cross trailer and gave me a police escort the rest of the way.

Red Cross - St. Peter Catholic Church - Monument, CO

 

I tell you that story because I am not going to tell you the story of driving home from Phx to Flagstaff in an insane snow storm in a tiny shitty little Geo metro.  With four adults in the car.  that is more passengers than cylinders.  the reason why i won’t tell you that story is also because I was tripping balls on mushrooms.  See, we were driving straight back home after a a Pink Floyd show at ASU.  Now, why in the world was I driving a crappy car that I was totally unfamiliar with in a deadly snow storm while exhausted and hallucinating on mushrooms?   Because the other three were on acid, which has a much longer and stronger shelf life.  We voted, and i was deemed the most capable.  

Now, perhaps your mind goes to ‘jesus, why didn’t you get a hotel room?  Or, even just wander around the desert tripping out for a few hours and settle your head instead of driving?”  Valid question, to which I don’t have an answer.  Likely one of us had a class the next morning.  Anyhow… now you see why I am not telling that story?  If anyone in my family could read, they would be freaked the fuck out by that.

What is the coldest winter that you recall?

A summer in San Francisco.  That was an Oscar Wilde quote?  I just love it, and can’t top it.  didn’t Oscar Wilde also famously (and famously outly gay way) say to customs when he flew in from London to the US – customers asked him if he had anything to declare – and he replied ‘only my genius’.  Being that out and gay is bad ass, but dude did this 150 years ago.  Oh, here is another one I just love from him (that I also think is from him, but its too late for me to care) “be yourself, everyone else is taken”.  That one kinda feels Mark Twain’y to me.  If I only I had an editor.  Geesh, I think these might all be Twain quotes.  I’d fire my editor if it weren’t me.  HEY… ya get what you pay for, people.***

When is the latest in the year snowfall you recall?

How about a midyear snowfall story.  In college, so mid 90’s, a friend and I were on a roadtrip from Flagstaff, AZ to Chicago.  We crossed through the rockies on an August afternoon and it was snowing like crazy.  That, and a couple hours spent ‘on the hill’ in Boulder cemented my lifelong love and decide to move to Colorado whenever I grew up.  Ended up moving here right after graduation and have been here ever since – Feb of 1997.

How bad does stupid cold weather give you stupid cabin- fever?

Below zero freaks me out.  That is when, no matter how well you are dressed… it hurts to breath in your nose.  And its when you know you could slip and fall, or get turned around in the dark, and die.  During the bomb cyclone I had that terrifying experience.  I went out to check the driveway and it was snowing SO hard and SO windy that even in daylight I could barely see where the house was.  Truly, had it been dark, I could have died in my own driveway not knowing where to go.  I have 5 acres and a football field long driveway.  I get when in Alaska and in olden times, before a storm they would run a rope between buildings.  So, lets say you had to go to the outhouse in the middle of a storm (and lets say there is no electricity).  You follow the rope back to your house.  Which is why to this day, even if its snowing somewhere else… I just poo my pants.  Safety first, people!

*** editors note – the San Francisco cold quote was Twain.  The ‘nothing to declare but my genius‘ was correct… Oscar Wilde.  The ‘be yourself, everyone else is taken‘?  That, too, is Oscar Wilde.  I realize the answer to that question went way off the rails.  Don’t blame me!  Blame the dumb question, and that it was after several bourbon’s I get around to putting that together.

the Rivian, the Cybertruck, or the Ford Lightning. Which electric truck won’t you get first?

The cool wall: Top Gear's Toyota Hilux

Which truck are you most excited not to get?  I have mentioned here on several occasions my love of trucks.  This doesn’t make me much of a novelty, though.  Apparently, the Ford F150 isn’t just the best selling truck, it’s the best selling anything.  I had a couple Ford trucks, the F250 diesels and always had electrical problems with them.  Yet, I am super intrigued by the Ford F150 Lightning.  I think I want one.  I would never buy the first year model of anything, I don’t want to be the beta test.  Good news is, that isn’t a possibility.  These trucks aren’t coming out.  Think of them more as concept cars, like this cool as Mercedes.

Cool car, isn’t it? There are even videos on it. The thing is, do you ever expect to actually see one of these on the street?

Just like there are tons of video on the new electric trucks, the F150 Lightning, and Rivian, and the Tesla Cyber truck.  NONE of these are being made right now.  It seems they made just enough to create reviews and send to car shows.  The F150 Lightning is supposed to be a 2022 model year.  These then are cars that come out in the fall of 2021.  They aren’t coming.  When Ford gets around to maybe making some, they said they could do as much as 15,000 a year.  Yet, they have a backorder of nearly a million.  I’m not a math guy, but that’s a long time before you or I can go into a lot and drive away with one.

Tesla has recently pulled any production dates on the truck offline.  It appears it may not be made at all.

The Rivian, which tends to get the raviest reviews, doesn’t have a distribution method.  No dealers.  So you can’t, and won’t, have one.  Maybe you haven’t heard of this, or seen it.  It’s a new company, which is why you can’t have one.  It looks a little odd, but not nearly at odd at the Cybertruck.

the problem with the Rivian is very simply the problem with the American car business.  You are not allowed to buy a car from a manufacturer.  You can’t, its against the law.  You can buy a Ford or Toyota, but not from Ford or Toyota.  Nope, you have to go to Frank’s Ford to pick one out.  Especially in the era of the pandemic, wouldn’t it be nice if you could design your own model online, pay them, and have it shipped to you?  Well you can’t so shut up.  and Rivian doesn’t have any dealers.  Why look, this new magazine says the Rivian is the car to buy in 2022.  Yet, the Motley Fool says buying one of these in 2022 would be a mistakeSo do these people. Either way, makes no difference.  You can’t buy, they don’t exist, and I am not sure if they are coming at all.  With both Tesla, and the Rivian, the trucks are referred to often interchangeably with their stock.  The Rivian has about 200K pre-orders.  That shouldn’t be a problem for a company that makes trucks.  This company doesn’t… yet.  They hype trucks, and talk about them.  They demo them, but they do not make them or sell them.

Now, the reason they say NOT to buy Rivian stock is exactly why I write this piece.  They say now is not the time to buy Rvian, because they might actually make trucks.  Making these trucks is super expensive.

Increasing vehicle production will also be expensive

 In Rivian’s Q3 shareholder letter, the company noted that it had produced a total of 652 R1 vehicles. Management also said that despite having the installed capacity to manufacture 150,000 cars a year at its factory, it would fall “a few hundred” units short of its 1,200 vehicle production goal for 2021. Again, building complex systems for automotive production is hard. It’s possible that it  could be several years before Rivian dramatically increases its production rate.

Subtext “making cars is hard y’all.  WAY harder than we thought it would be.  Stop being so mean.”  The subtext also seems to be that this is a great company to invest in until they actual get around to one day making trucks… which will bankrupt them.  The article explains it took Tesla about ten years to make a penny of profit.

What have we learned?  Just with Rivian, we have learned if they ever to get to mass production (more than 15,000 trucks a year), it will bankrupt them.   What will you care if you get your hands on one before they go under?  It means no one to service it.  Don’t worry, you won’t get tricked into buying a Rivian soon.  They still don’t have a distribution deal.  My guess is for distribution they will have to piggyback off an infrastructure that has one, and also doesn’t care about trucks.  Like Nissan, or Honda.

I was most interested in the Ford concept truck (let’s just call it that, since it won’t be no the market for you or I for about a decade by their numbers) is the idea it works as a generator for your house.  This is beyond brilliant, and leaves me wondering why no other electric car offers that.  They are all the same thing… a big bag of batteries and computers.  I live a bit off the grid, and many of my neighbors have generators.  A proper home generator starts around 25K, and isn’t something you can get at Costco.  A proper battery backup is another 25K.   So, you see why the concept of a 75K truck that also covers my need for a 50K generator set up seems like a dream.   But that’s the problem… it’s only a dream.  By Ford’s own numbers (if) and when production starts in a year or so, they can only commit to 15,000 trucks a year.  Obviously, this concern is beyond them.  Nobody wants to not make cars.  But I feel if any of these companies put the energy into finding/making chips and batteries that they put in advertising, they might succeed one day.  Well, not Musk.  He is pretty busy saving the world and rehearsing to be a real life Bond villain.

Is there a consumer protection agency?  Is that an actual thing?  Like that show ‘Fight Back w/ David Horowitz’… that is what we need.  He would take products and test them against the thing they said they could do in the commercial.  Anyhow, if there is a consumer protection agency, they should pull all these adds off the air until the product is available.  Imagine Kraft mac and cheese doing a commercial saying ‘Kraft Mac and Cheese with Bacon’, probably available in about 5 to 8 years.”   It works, though, we are talking about these stupid trucks.  I look forward to when I can look back at this post in 5 to 10 years and see how it turned out.

Not even go to do anything on the Cybertruck.  That was ‘launched’ in 2019.  None have been made, and it was announced none will be me at least any time this year (2022).  Btw, if you think Ford is F’d with their backlog, apparently Tesla has sold options/deposits on this truck of 1.3 million.  So, if that truck ever comes to market, it will similarly be 5 to 10 years before they are actually available to walk up and buy.

Now… that truck at the very top.  I think its the most important single truck alive. Its more important than the ‘Bonnie and Clyde death car‘.  This is the ‘Top Gear Unkillable Toyota‘..  they took the Toyota truck (known as the SR3 in the US, and is STILL called the ‘Hilux’ around the world.  they blew it up, trey drown it in the ocean, they set it on fire… it still drove.

you really must watch these videos.  here is the first, where he drives it down the stairs, rams it across a building, drives it straight into a tree, and then drives it into the ocean.  that’s all before the challenge starts.

in closing, here is what seems to be the case with electric cars, and this is a good thing. Your next car might not be electric. But, the one after that one will be… pretty much whether you like it or not. The reason I am obsessed with discussing electric trucks (as opposed to just electric cars) is two fold > 1) I love trucks and have only owned trucks as a daily driver since 1996. This is 15 years before we had a ranch and horses to two. 2) I have a ranch and horses to tow.