A debate that seems never to go away is whether driving a car is easier than a pickup truck. While cars might appear simple to operate, pickup trucks have evolved technologically, improving their drivability. So, does this mean the driving experience of a car and truck are similar?
Driving a car is easier than a pickup truck, considering their sizes. Cars are generally smaller and lighter than trucks, so parking, driving, and controlling them isn’t complicated. Pickups are larger, heavier, and have powerful engines, which makes driving them more complicated.
Over the years, I have owned several truck brands, and I can ascertain that driving them isn’t similar to driving regular cars. Read on to discover factors that make navigating a vehicle easier than driving a pickup truck. I’ve also included tips for first-time pickup drivers.
Is the Driving Experience in a Car and Truck Similar?
The driving experience in a car and truck isn’t similar. Pickup trucks are front-heavy and have higher centers of gravities, blind spots, and potent engines. Because of this, they’re more challenging to drive than cars. Many require adequate learning lessons to master driving a truck.
Driving a car is much easier than navigating a pickup truck, especially for first-time drivers. Since pickup trucks are heavier, you’ll most definitely feel their weight controlling them.
That said, you shouldn’t encounter many difficulties navigating modern pickup trucks. Manufacturers have taken their time to engineer and design comfortable, efficient, and easy to operate trucks.
Why Cars Are Easier To Drive Than Pickup Trucks
Distinct features make standard cars easier to drive than pickup trucks. Here’s a clear look at some of these features.
Cars Have Better Stability
Since the driver’s seat is lower in cars than in pickup trucks, cars generally have what’s considered “a lower center of gravity,” helping to create stability when driving and turning, even during emergencies.
Being stable makes cars less vulnerable to rolling if a driver turns at high speed, which can be quite dangerous in pickup trucks.
Increased Height of Pickup Trucks Presents Challenges
One apparent difference between cars and trucks is the height. Observably, pickup trucks have an increased height, and this can be either an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your situation.
For some people, especially the elderly, disabled, and children, getting in or out of pickup trucks can be challenging. These days, most modern pickup trucks have built-in side steps that lower when you open the door and retract when closing. However, if your model doesn’t come with a side step, you may be forced to purchase it separately, which can be costly.
Another challenge coming with the high seating is blind spots. You constantly have to look at your side mirrors before changing or exiting a line. If you aren’t keen enough, you may fail to see smaller vehicles driving by your side.
On a more positive note, the higher seating in pickup trucks provides excellent visibility. Drivers usually have a clear view of the road and traffic ahead and avoid situational accidents.
Cars Are Easier To Turn and Park
Besides the seating height, there’s also a difference in the length of these two types of vehicles. Pickup trucks are longer than cars, which widens their turn radius, meaning you may need more time and attention to get used to parking and making turns with them. This is especially true for those who aren’t accustomed to driving the old models.
Conversely, since cars are shorter, it isn’t that hard to park or turn on the road as they don’t require larger spaces.
Cars Are Lighter and Easier To Control
Cars aren’t as heavy as pickup trucks, so drivers don’t always feel their weight on the road. The main advantage this brings is that they’re easier to control and don’t require more space to stop when driving at high speed.
The average weight for pickup trucks ranges from 4000 to 6000 lbs, or 2 to 3 metric tons. Most people use these vehicles for towing or pulling heavy loads.
The main disadvantage caused by the truck’s weight is increased difficulty to control, especially when negotiating corners.
Trucks Take Longer To Stop When Breaking
It’s a law of physics that heavier objects in motion take more effort to stop than lighter objects. Thus, pickup trucks will take longer to stop than cars when braking at high speed since they’re heavier. It’s even worse if your model is still using drum brakes or if it’s towing heavy loads.
With this in mind, it’s always advisable to maintain a considerable distance from the vehicle ahead. Beginner truck drivers might fail to calculate the required distance.
Tips To Consider When Driving a Pickup Truck for the First Time
A modern pickup can be as easy as driving a car, provided you gain the needed experience. Below are some tips to improve your driving experience in a pickup truck:
- Install a quality backup camera to the rear of your pickup truck. With this, you can see the area behind you when reversing and avoid those unnecessary accidents.
- Avoid driving pickup trucks at high speeds since they take longer to stop when braking.
- Ensure you have enough space when turning and parking.
- Practice makes perfect. You’re not going to master driving your pickup truck that easily if you don’t practice. Consider frequent drives on less busy roads.
Driving a car is still more straightforward than driving a pickup truck despite technological advancements in truck design. Generally speaking, many drivers are likely to need some experience to drive a pickup truck comfortably. Whereas, cars have features that make them ideal for driving, like:
- Shorter braking periods
- Better stability
- Easier control
- Smaller sizes
- Lower seating
Even though driving a car is easier than a pickup truck, pickups offer drivers more benefits. Notably, trucks don’t depreciate fast and provide more cargo space. They also allow you to haul loads that don’t fit inside or could damage a car.
- Reddit: How different is it driving a pickup truck compared to a car?
- Quora: If you’ve already learned how to drive a car, how hard is it to drive a pickup truck?
- Consumer Reports: The Hidden Danger of BIG Trucks
- Business Insider: After driving a pickup truck for the first time, I now get why they’re the best-selling vehicles in the US
- HowStuffWorks: How Drum Brakes Work