There’s something truly American about driving a pickup truck. No, we’re not going to drift into a series of cliches about American flags and off-roading, but we can certainly agree that pickups are as American as apple pie, jazz music, and Chuck Norris. Maybe you have been admiring pickup trucks from afar, and you’ve always dreamed of stepping behind the wheel of your very own. If you’re ready to take the plunge, we applaud you as passionate pickup aficionados ourselves. But before you hit the road in your new automotive powerhouse, there are a few things you’ll want to be mindful of. After all, a pickup is not a Honda Civic; it’s an entirely different beast, as you’ll soon realize firsthand.
1. Don’t Lose Your Perspective
The first time you climb into your new pickup and adjust your mirrors, you’re going to notice one potential hurdle before you even put the key into the ignition: blind spots. Okay, so every vehicle has blind spots, but larger pickup trucks can be especially burdensome in this department, especially those pickups that are high off the ground. With a good set of rear view mirrors, you should have a pretty reasonable view of your surroundings, but the challenge is seeing directly behind the truck bed. When small children and animals pass behind your truck, they might as well be invisible.
Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent your visual limitations. One of the best ways to eliminate those pesky blind spots is to install a quality backup camera, like this Pickup Truck Backup Camera from Tadi Brothers. Featuring a high-resolution mirror monitor, this system provides limitless perspective and renewed peace of mind. With a bit of aftermarket preparation, you can ensure that the impressive size of your pickup doesn’t become a hindrance.
2. Back it Up…Slowly
To expand on the previous point, you must exercise extreme caution when putting your pickup into Reverse. Driving a pickup truck is kind of like operating a tank, minus the militaristic overtones (unless you’re driving a Ford F-150 SuperCrew, in which case you might as well be storming Normandy on D-Day). You have to remember that your field of vision is limited. Backup cameras and aftermarket rear-view mirrors can help, but remember to appreciate the magnitude of the machine you’re navigating, and take it slowly. Your neighbors (and their pets) will thank you.
3. Take it Easy on the Gas
Another thing you’ll notice about your new pickup is the weight. Yeah, these babies carry a lot of power, but you know the saying: With great power comes great responsibility (yeah, it’s a quote from Spider-Man, but it still applies in this case). Not only do pickup trucks weigh more than smaller passenger cars, but research shows that these vehicles have been getting progressively heavier over the past 30 years, and today’s pickups weigh only slightly less than a full-grown Tyrannosaurus Rex (we may be exaggerating…slightly).
As Bloomberg noted in an eye-opening report, the weight difference between a car and a recent-model truck is more than 2,000 pounds. Think about that for a moment. When you drive around in a new pickup, you are literally hauling a full ton of extra weight, and this will have a major impact on the vehicle’s handling.
So what does this mean for you, the truck owner? It means that the traditional rules of accelerating and braking no longer apply. Driving a pickup truck requires an additional degree of caution because your brakes have to work overtime to manage the extreme weight of the automobile. It means you’ll need to brake sooner and leave more space between yourself and other cars. Heavy trucks can’t stop on a dime, so treat your pedals with care.
4. To Everything There is a Season – Turn, Turn, Turn
You know how to turn, right? Gently move the steering wheel in your desired direction, and let the wheels guide you along your change of direction. Wrong! You USED TO know how to turn, but as we’ve already established, a pickup truck is an entirely different beast. While the turning procedure of a pickup is technically no different from that of a sedan, you’ll definitely have to adjust to the feel of turning a truck.
In short, trucks require more space for turning. This harkens back to the previous point about accelerating and braking: just give yourself more space. Don’t assume that you can turn 45 degrees over the course of three feet. Learning to drive a pickup truck is about learning to respect the limitations of distance and space. If you can just master that, you’ll be able to navigate your pickup to perfection.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you don’t have a lot of experience behind the wheel of a pickup truck, consider a refresher course in driver’s ed. No, you don’t have to sign up for driver’s training, but when you were first learning to drive, you probably spent a lot of time navigating vacant parking lots to get a feel for the driving process. As you adjust to the unique feel of a pickup, consider returning to those old vacant lots and practicing until the process feels like second nature. In no time at all, you’ll feel like a seasoned pro, and you will stand among the legions of proud motorists who understand that there’s something truly special about hitting the road in a pickup.
Shop Tadi Brothers today for all of your essential aftermarket pickup accessories.