Wednesday, January 15

"I would not put an inexperienced driver in a vehicle that is rollover prone,” says Dr. Jeffrey Runge of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Mr. Runge has resolved to more carefully scrutinize the safety of SUVs and their strong tendency to roll over.

We’ve heard so much criticism of these much-maligned vehicles (a large percentage of it coming from us), but in the end the real victims are the drivers of SUVs themselves. Or perhaps I should say that “they get what’s coming to them.” Do they not realize that when they tailgate those of us who choose to drive smaller cars—when they behave aggressively toward us, when they are oblivious to all other drivers but themselves—don’t they realize that we retaliate?

I can’t tell you how many times Rose and I “mess with” SUV drivers after they behave aggressively toward us. (We’re not instigators, mind you—we’re reactive, not proactive in this situation.) It’s so much fun to drive real slowly when one of those big guys/girls zooms behind you in a hurry, headlights glaring in your eyes, the monster-vehicle wavering from side to side in an angry demonstration of impatience. It’s so fun to trap them at the next red light, or to box them in on the highway. And boy, oh boy, do they get angry. Their blood pressure must be zooming to an even higher level than it was when they first attacked.

Childish? Irresponsible? Perhaps. But no more so than driving an SUV in the first place.