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CHARLOTTE, NC (May 20, 2013) – According to a recent study by the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 34.8 million Americans will take car trips of 50 miles or more over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
No doubt, everyone will be in a hurry.
For those of you hitting the highway this weekend, here are 12 vehicles – a ‘Dirty Dozen’ listing of some of the slowest vehicles on the road – that you should do your absolute best to avoid if you’re looking to ‘hammer down’ over the holidays.
Toyota Prius V Wagon – Forget the fact that the tires on this Toyota hybrid are rated at 106 miles an hour because the top speed for this rolling road block is just 78 mph. More importantly, it’s even slower when loaded down with four people, holiday weekend luggage, coolers and snacks. Our suggestion here – send all of these to the crusher and recycle them as round tip scissors.
Any Vehicle With Stick Figures Decal On The Back Window – Seeing any vehicle with one of these is sure sign you are about to slow down. That same stick figure dad or mom in the window is sure to be arguing with the kids or disciplining a pet – not concentrating on driving. The fact most of these decals appear on slow, ill-handling minivans – the scourge of the highway – means you won’t be making your it to your BBQ on time if you get stuck behind one of these.
Fiat 500C – The latest darling of the ‘cute’ import crowd, this turtle-shaped car also performs like one with a 0-60 time of 12 seconds. That means you’ll have plenty of time to dream about the hot Italian chick in the car’s commercials when you roll off from a stoplight behind one of these.
Anything Towing A Trailer – Getting stuck behind anything towing a trailer will usually force you to roll out of the throttle, but on Memorial Day weekend, it’s 10-times worse thanks to all the RV’ers and boaters heading to the campground/lake. Also included in this category are U-Haul trailers, highway staples at the end of each month that are even more in the way on high traffic holiday weekends. It's even worse if it's towed by a Prius like the one at left. Arrgh!
Lexus CT200h – This 98 horsepower ‘beast’ is sure to be in the way as you hammer down toward your holiday vacation destination. On the good side, driving 50 mph behind one of these hybrid mutts is sure to improve the mileage rating of your car.
School Or Tour Bus – Fortunately, there aren’t many school busses running on Memorial Day unless you’re in certain parts of the South where they don’t celebrate the holiday that ‘honors the dead from the war of Northern aggression.’ Go figure. You’re more than likely to encounter tour busses in your holiday travels – either holding you up while enveloping you in a cloud of black diesel smoke – or crammed up your tailpipe riding your ass at 80 miles per hour. Either way, driver beware.
Any Buick – The ultimate ‘blue hair’ ride, it seems like the median age of someone who drives a Buick is 70 – or older. Driving ‘like a bat outta hell’ to these folks means 50 in the left lane. You can spend an eternity in their slipstream, but you may not want to start blowing your horn, flashing your lights or giving them some cryptic hand gestures. After all, it may be Shaquille O’Neal or Peyton Manning behind the wheel.
Garbage Truck – With multiple, unending stops and a smell that will ruin your appetite for the entire holiday weekend, getting stuck behind garbage trucks literally ‘ranks’ right up at the top of worst motoring experiences on any day, not just holiday weekend days.
Dodge Caliber R/T – Fortunately, Chrysler Corporation has discontinued the manufacture of this car. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of them on the road. Giving this half plastic, five-seat 90 mph top speed saltine box a R/T (Road/Track) distinction has to be one of the greatest misnomers of all time. In this case, R/T means ‘Real/Turd’ and you should avoid riding behind one of these at all costs.
Jeep Compass - This car isn’t necessarily slow – but it is the ugliest car on the road today. A rival to the Buick Rendevous and the Pontiac Aztek as the ugliest American cars ever made, riding behind this vehicle for any length of time is sure to leave a lasting mental scar. Frankly, I designed better looking cars than this in second-grade study hall.
1973 VW Super Beetle Convertible - The odds of seeing one of these – along with tons of other ‘classics’ – on the highway is actually pretty good this Memorial Day weekend. That’s because a lot of folks like to break out their ‘toys’ and drive them on the holidays. Many of these cars – especially this VW drop top that needs 23.7 seconds and a full quarter-mile distance to go from 0-60 mph are downright brutal in heavy traffic. Break out the sundial if you are looking to make good time behind one of these.
We’re pretty confident you have plenty of others to add to this list of ‘highway hazzards’ – and even more certain that we’ve jangled a nerve or two if you happen to own/drive one of the vehicles listed above. Sorry, the performance numbers listed here don’t lie, and it’s not our fault you decided to wheel a road apple. Just trying to have a little fun in this space and give you something a little different from the regular racing go round you normally see posted here.
That said, screw hitting the highway this weekend. Our advice is to stay home, fire up the grill, crack open a frosty beverage and spend Memorial Day weekend at your private Ponderosa. After all, even steak seems to cost less per pound when compared to the price of a gallon of gas these days.
Regardless of what you drive - or what you do - here’s hoping you have the best of holiday weekends.
About John Close
John Close is a former Associated Press newspaper sports editor who for the past 30 years has written countless automotive and motorsports articles for numerous magazines, trade publications and Internet sites.
Close has also authored two books - Tony Stewart - From Indy Phenom To NASCAR Superstar and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - From Desert Dust To Superspeedways.
Close also spotted more than 150 NASCAR Cup, Nationwide and Truck events from 1995-2008. His third book – On The Spot – a volume about the history of NASCAR race spotting, will be published later this year.
You can direct comments/inquiries to Close at email@example.com.