OPINION: Yes, I’m one of “those” four wheel drive people
BY the end of the week there'll be a shiny new four wheel drive sitting in our driveway and we can't wait to put it to work.
OMG, yes, I'm one of "those" people - I own a four wheel drive.
This will be our first "brand new, off the showroom floor" four wheel drive but we have had a four wheel drive in our garage for the past 20 years or so as it has allowed us to take our kids on all sorts of adventures.
And we have driven thousands of kilometres without incident or accident just as I have driven our other car - a small four cylinder gem without any dramas.
Gee, maybe that's a reflection of my driving ability and not the size of the car I drive.
Surely it's time we all stopped judging a driver by the size of the car they drive - our cars whether big, small, old, new, sedate or spectacular are just an expression of our lifestyles and personalities.
It's how we drive them that really matters.
I don't know of any four wheel driver owners who purchased their vehicle in a calculated and deliberate attempt to scare the bejesus out of a little old lady heading to the shops to get a carton of milk and some cat food.
Personally I am more afraid of the drivers in any size car who switch lanes suddenly, don't use their indicators or seem to think that the speed limit doesn't apply to them.
And in shopping centres I park as far away from the entrance as possible no matter which car I am in. And that's not out of polite consideration to other drivers, it is more a case of trying to avoid the damage a wayward trolley can do or the dings that come from people who open a car door without any care for other people's property.
Do we need a special area for vans and 4WD's in car parks?
This poll ended on 31 March 2015.
Yes! Would make it so much easier.
No, why are they special?
No, how hard is it to park?
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
So I really don't care what people drive as long as they drive safely but when I do notice a particular car on the road - a gleaming sports car for example or tricked up four wheel drive - it's usually because I can see it is something the owner has great pride in and has chosen as an expression of their personality.
It gives me a glimpse of their sense of style just as I can appreciate the style of a woman sporting designer sunglasses and a handbag that costs as much as a month at my favourite camping ground.
But I don't judge people for their choices, rather I accept and appreciate that they are all revealing something about the things they enjoy in life.
People can probably tell a lot about my style and what's important to me from my choice in cars but they shouldn't judge me as a driver by those choices.
We spend as many weekends as possible camping and skiing with our kids and believe me you need the biggest vehicle you can find if you want to fit in all the stuff you need for a comfortable camping trip.
But our four wheel drive has allowed us to do all sorts of things including travel up the beaches of Fraser Island, take half the soccer team to an away game and deliver an entire family and their luggage to the airport without needing a convoy.
It seems bizarre to say this but four wheel drive driver seem to have something in common with cyclists and motorcyclists.
This unlikely trio have become the road users everyone loves to hate and all seem to fall victim to the sweeping generalizations about their ability to use our roads safely.
But most of us are just ordinary people. In fact I would dare to say that most four wheel driver owners, cyclists and motorcyclists not only follow the road rules and show due respect for other motorists but probably have a "normal" car at home - one they pay rego and insurance for and use on the roads regularly.
The only difference between us and the haters is that we have a lifestyle that goes beyond the four doors of the "acceptable small car".
Maybe it's time that all those people who are rushing to speedy judgments about the size of a person's car and their driving ability should put a bit more effort into adopting a live and let live attitude and judging drivers by their skills and not the size of their wheels.