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There’s a dangerous trend on the roads right now: coal-rolling. Coal-rolling involves diesel pickup trucks and unsuspecting motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians. Recently a woman in a Tesla faced a terrifying encounter with a pickup – with her child in the backseat.

A red 2021 Tesla Model 3 driving down a highway.
2021 Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

What is coal-rolling?

Coal-rolling is done by diesel pickup trucks. Not just any diesel pickups, but those which aren’t meeting new emissions standards. These pickup trucks expel excessive amounts of soot, and proudly. Usually, their trucks are producing so much exhaust because they’ve tampered with their trucks to make them faster or louder, or both.

In coal-rolling, the truck driver accelerates while shooting its exhaust fumes at its target. In this case the truck driver repeatedly cut off the woman while braking. According to reports, the woman was traveling with her child, which makes the whole situation that much more terrifying.

What happened in this incident?

This incident was captured on TeslaCam, Tesla’s dashboard camera. In the video, a pickup truck is shown moving in front of the woman in her Tesla. The driver does this twice, even braking in front of her, which forced her to brake as well. This is especially dangerous since they were on the highway. A crash at that speed could have been deadly, and completely avoidable.

Why are truck drivers targeting Teslas?

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. There have been a bunch of reports recently that trucks have been harassing Tesla drivers, but also other electric vehicle drivers as well.

So why are truck drivers targeting Teslas? Maybe they feel that the Tesla is the antithesis of a pickup truck. It’s small and green, and probably not going off-roading. Except for the Cybertruck, which is totally going to go off-roading, and with special cameras that will be able to see the terrain-like eyes. Plus, the Cybertruck will be able to display that terrain on a screen inside the truck, which is super cool. 

It seems that the group of people who are into coal-rolling are against the progress being made to fight climate change. 

Of course, it’s also possible that the pickup truck drivers are just coal-rolling random people, and the Tesla drivers have been able to document it with their dashboard cameras. This seems unlikely though, as Electrek spoke with one driver who admitted that he had a thing against Tesla drivers. (Later, it turned out that what he thought he knew about Teslas wasn’t even accurate. Go figure.)

Coal-rolling is dangerous, perhaps more so than those doing it realize. When people mess around at high speeds with large vehicles, the risk of a crash increases. The faster the vehicles are traveling, the more likely it is that that crash will be fatal. 

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is coal-rolling you, try to take down their information. If you have a dashboard cam like TeslaCam, all the better. Dangerous driving is illegal, and in some states coal-rolling is illegal. Add to this the fact that tampering with a car’s emissions is illegal, and those doing the coal-rolling could face punishment for their dangerous actions.


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