Ever since Toyota introduced its new hybrid car the Prius has been a subject of various debates. Its actual fuel economy was largely questioned. There has been rumors about its batteries not being environment friendly. Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear made a really harsh review of it that you can see below.
But the subject that I would want to discuss is Prius drivers. A long while ago Motodisiac told me that the Prius drivers are the worst kind to ever populate carpool lanes. Now that I got involved into riding I know why.
First of all they are arguably the slowest carpool tenants often going even below the speed limit. While other vehicles do that once in a while I have been noticing this behavior from the Prius society members much frequently. For the record one of my friends is a proud owner of one of those. And even he complained to me once that often times he waits for the opening in a carpool lane to pass another Prius on the right.
Secondly they are probably the most oblivious drivers on the roads of Southern California. I have been noticing this even before I started riding. They will merge tentatively in a way that misleads drivers around them. Frequently I’d see a Prius occupying left most lanes for no apparent reason or sliding in and out of a lane just a bit but enough to brush against another unsuspecting vehicle. A failure to use blinkers goes without saying. We are in Los Angeles. No one uses blinkers.
And thirdly they seem to be pretty unfriendly to motorcyclists that share carpool lanes with them. It has not been 2 months that I am riding and I already have gotten more than one angry look from a Prius side window. And keep in mind that I am a new rider. I am not whizzing between cars at 80mph as I see some riders do. I was under the impression that the majority of the Prius drivers were politically liberal and tolerant environmentalists. How does anger fit in the liberal and tolerant picture?
After thinking about all that I asked myself - do people become like that when they purchase a Prius? Or it is something pertaining their personality traits that leads them to a decision to own one? That is a mystery yet to be explored and hopefully unveiled. In the meantime I will try to be safe and recommend everyone to watch out if you see one driving close to you.
P.S. I was riding in a carpool lane the other day. Slowly but steadily overtaking slower cars I approached a Prius. Surprisingly the driver (female in her 30s) shifted her car a bit to the left. My heart was filled with joy. The hope is not completely lost.