Photos: Top ten cars whose drivers can be jerks on icy roads

Last year, we shared our list of the ten scariest out-of-state license plates to see in a storm. But plates aren't the only warnings of roadway dangers when the conditions are snowy, icy or, in the case of this morning, seemingly fine for the most part, but deceptively slick in spots. Over the years, I've noticed that terrible drivers tend to gravitate to certain kinds of cars. Of course, that doesn't mean every person who owns one of the rides listed here is dangerous -- but I definitely watch out for the following makes and models. Here's my very subjective top ten. Number 10: Yukon Denali In my experience, the jerkiness of Yukon Denali drivers hasn't always been conscious. Rather, distraction is more often the issue. Imagine a harried mom so busy trying to hand juice boxes over the seat to a gaggle of kids that she's hardly watching the road. Then imagine she's behind the wheel of a vehicle the size of a small building and the asphalt seems to have been greased. Now you've got the idea.... Number 9: Ford Ranger When the weather turns bad, too many Ranger owners take advantage of the opportunity to blow past smaller, slower cars. Problem is, the lack of weight over the rear axle when the truck bed is empty makes them (and lots of other passenger trucks) prone to fishtailing and spinning -- which is what happened to me on a snowy New Year's Eve a while back, when a Ranger did a 180 directly in front of me on 6th Avenue. Additional factor: The driver may have been getting a hand job at the time. Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten cars whose drivers can be jerks on icy roads. Number 8: Mini Cooper Minis are so light compared to other vehicles that when the pavement's coated with ice, they sometimes seem to be alternately skipping or bouncing down the highway. Personally, I'd prefer cars around me to actually stay in contact with the roadway. But that's just me. Number 7: Volvo S60 This one's a bit counter-intuitive, but bear with me. Volvos are often purchased by very conservative drivers because they're justly renowned for their safety in accidents. But I've noticed that some owners of S60s and other models are emboldened by this characteristic in dangerous ways -- as in, "If I'm in a crash, I'll be fine. So get the hell out of my way. I'm coming through!" Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten cars whose drivers can be jerks on icy roads. Number 6: Chevrolet Corvette Sure, Corvettes look incredibly cool. But they're built so low to the ground that they can bottom out going over the most minor of dips, their handling becomes much more questionable on wet or icy roadways and they tend to be driven by guys who act as if they're guiding their automotive penis substitute into a supermodel's...garage. That can be a terrifying combination in a storm. Number 5: Lexus LX570 In my experience, a lot of Lexus owners radiate a sense of entitlement. They seem to believe that their ability to afford such a fine ride makes them first among highway equals, and everybody else should just get the out of the way. Which can be a problem on a snow-packed exit that's the equivalent of a luge track. Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten cars whose drivers can be jerks on icy roads. Number 4: Peterbilt On this entry, Peterbilt stands in for pretty much every make of semi-truck, and especially the ones that sport out-of-state license plates. You'd think truckers who drive cross-country on a regular basis would have experience with every kind of weather or terrain, but it certainly doesn't seem that way. How many times have I had to get past a big rig whose driver either acted as if he'd never seen a snowflake before or was barreling along at a speed that cried out for a runaway truck ramp? More times than I can count. Number 3: Mazda5 This one's personal. See, my family owns a Mazda5, and I can tell you from bitter personal experience that they perform terribly in tough driving conditions. Our model requires very expensive, very unusual tires that are so lousy in the snow that we've gotten stuck in parking spaces before, and when it comes time to stop suddenly on ice, they're considerably less effective than prayer. No wonder we're as afraid of seeing Mazda5s when we're on the road as other people probably are when they eyeball us. Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten cars whose drivers can be jerks on icy roads. Number 2: Hummer H5 Most people think we're seeing fewer Hummers on the road these days because of their lousy gas mileage and the social stigma of owning a vehicle synonymous with the destruction of the planet. But I've got another theory: It's because so many of them have been wrecked by drivers who treated interstates like bowling lanes and their car like a ball hoping to rack up a strike. Every time one zooms past me in the snow, I expect to see it a few miles later resting on its top, and a time or two, it's happened. Number 1: Mitsubishi Outlander The Outlander takes this post's prize for a simple reason: I was almost killed by one this morning. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but an Outlander driver tailgated me from a distance of about a foot as I drove through a super-slick 6th Avenue construction zone at the speed limit in the slow lane -- and the fast lane was open! So congratulations, pal. You've cast all the other good Outlander drivers in your reflected shame.

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More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "Photos: Top ten scariest out-of-state license plates to see in a snowstorm."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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