By Dave Ashton
While trawling through the endless amounts of newsfeeds out there, a news headline from Yahoo caught my eye. The title, ‘This is why there is so much hate out there for Dodge drivers’ looked ominous and quite accusational. The main subject of the article is a Dodge Challenger, captured on a Tesla’s camera system crashing into another vehicle.
There’s also a strapline after the first paragraph in the article that reads, ‘Need more proof that Dodges inspire chaos? Check out the wildest police chase we’ve ever seen here.’ The strapline includes a link to video footage of a getaway driver using a Dodge Challenger Hellcat which eventually runs out of gas. You can check out the video here.
To the uninitiated, it may seem like Dodge vehicles either attract the worst of humanity as owners or somehow turns drivers into raging, hotheaded beasts. The reality is somewhat different.
The Video Evidence
The Tesla Model 3 has an eight-camera system that is used for safety purposes but is now being used to capture other road users. According to the video’s own words, ‘The submitter was driving his Model 3 late one night on a freeway in Los Angeles, California. This was the day after he saw a video titled, ‘the worst drivers in the world.’
In the worst drivers in the world video, there is apparently a poll which reveals Dodge having one of the worst set of drivers in the world(more on this later)
‘The submitter was overtaking slower-moving cars that were causing traffic. ‘As he puts it, there was no reason for all the traffic so late at night.’ ‘One of the cars he overtook was a Dodge Challenger whose driver didn’t like this and decided to speed up and tried to catch up with him.’ ‘As their speeds got higher, the Dodge driver tried to overtake Tesla on the right when this happened.’ ‘The Dodge rear-ended another car at very high speed, and they both ended up smashing into the concrete barrier.’[embedded content]
The complete video compilation was created by Wham Baam Teslacam, which also shows a bunch of other cam footage of other vehicles. Ironically, the incident with the Dodge covers the first 1.45 minutes of a 16.47 full video, with the Dodge being the headline.
The Yahoo article interprets the Dodge Challenger as ‘a Dodge Challenger gives chase but gets stuck behind one of the slow-moving cars.’
At this point, the story looks very damning towards the Dodge driver, but let’s look a little closer at what happened.
Before the Wham Baam Teslacam guys show the crash clip, they say the owner of the Tesla was probably inspired to send in his video after seeing their previous video ‘the worst drivers in the world.’ No problem there if the Tesla driver already had the footage and was inspired to submit it somewhere. In this case to the Wham Baam Teslacam guys. If anyone captures a car crash on there dash cam, it’s obviously going to add fuel to the fire of any compilation of worst drivers video.
However, what also builds Dodge owners to be seemingly some of the worst drivers in a poll conducted by the Wham Baam Teslacam guys. In the poll Dodge drivers were as quoted, ‘Dodge drivers have voted the 2nd worst drivers in the world.’
If you look at the screenshot above the poll was compiled from 8.1K votes. That’s hardly a worldwide vote. Most likely from a Tesla centered video channel, the votes came from Tesla owners. According to statista.com, in 2018, 6.7 million passenger cars were involved in US traffic accidents. That’s not counting the rest of the world. Therefore a user group of 8.1k is not exactly a worldwide user base. Plus, Dodge vehicles are very US-centric. which means it’s more than likely that most of the people who participated in the poll are US citizens. Again, not exactly worldwide.
Back To The Video
Apparently, the Tesla owner overtook slow-moving traffic. One of these vehicles was a Dodge Challenger, who according to the video, ‘one of the cars he overtook was a Dodge Challenger whose driver didn’t like this and decided to speed up and try to catch up with.’ Unless the driver of the Dodge Challenger admitted that he didn’t like a Tesla zooming past him, isn’t this a presumption?
From what we can see, the dodge Challenger pulls out of slow-moving traffic. Due to us not being mind readers, we can’t presume his intentions. If you watch the video footage closely, both vehicles swap multiple lanes. However, the Challenger driver decides to drive around other vehicles and miss times moving into the next lane, slamming into another vehicle. Clearly, a bad move by the Challenger driver.
Was the Dodge Challenger driver at fault? From the video footage, definitely. But the video and article paint a different picture of the whole Dodge breed being at fault. Just like the boy at school who gets in trouble and then taints the rest of the class.
Tesla versus Dodge
If you wanted to pick the antithesis of a Tesla vehicle, you couldn’t do better than the Dodge Challenger. Imagine the average Tesla Model 3 owner. They have bought into an expensive, cutting-edge all-electric vehicle, which is more than likely going to be one of the forerunners of all EV cars. Even in the smallest sense, this is going to instill a feeling of superiority. A vehicle with the latest safety features and gizmos. In this world how would you view another vehicle with an ICE 6.2L supercharged engine? Especially one with decades of oil-fueled, dragstrip sensibilities.
Little wonder that it takes no time to see video clips of Tesla’s demoting the worth of the internal combustion engine. It’s not enough to simply own an EV, the internal combustion engine must also be denounced. At least that’s what the message feels like.
According to FHWA, 2017, nearly 6 million vehicle crashes occur in the US every year. There are also 2 million drivers who experience permanent injuries according to Driver Knowledge, 2019. The Dodge Challenger sold 66,716 units in 2018, dropping to 52,955 in 2020. These figures are still a small part of the whole car-buying public. However, the vehicle and the brand seems to be singled out in this comparison.
As with any car, the Dodge Challenger is simply a vehicle. A vehicle to do whatever you want with, good or bad. As with any performance car with a long history, its image and prowess will attract those wanting racing power. How that power is handled is down to the individual.
Therefore, don’t hate on the Dodge Challenger because of the accidents of a few individuals. In the coming years, there will be a slew of Tesla cam footage denouncing the virtues of the internal combustion engine. Performance cars will get the most focus, but what will be most interesting is when muscle cars eventually go fully electric. Will we be seeing compilation videos of Tesla’s chasing Dodge Challengers, angry they have been overtaken?
In other words, don’t immediately judge a book by its cover. Just like this news report from the BBC website showing the aftermath of a Tesla owner using autopilot while playing a videogame. The driver died after hitting a concrete barrier. Tesla tells all drivers to keep their hands on the wheel when in autopilot mode. Even if the car had the autopilot abilities of Knight Rider’s KITT, playing video games while driving is a clear no-no. Should this be indicative of the whole Tesla lineup of vehicles? Obviously not, so why should it work the other way?
Just like there were recent trends of viral videos showing Muppets crashing their Ford Mustangs. That’s down to individual driving errors. So, the trend moves onto Dodge vehicles. A small percentage of bad drivers gives the rest of the breed a bad name.
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