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Vehicle Conundrum 
29th-Dec-2009 08:56 am
me - coldgirl II
Here is a conundrum I face every day of the winter here in Fargo (which is a lot; we like to say that our four seasons are Winter, More Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction -- hardy har har).

I have two vehicles. One vehicle (hereinafter called Tracker) has the four-wheel drive capability, making it much easier to drive on ice. However, Tracker does not have good crash-test ratings. The other vehicle (hereinafter called Civic) has great crash-test ratings but no four-wheel drive. (Obviously, there may be other factors involved, yadda yadda, but this is the basis of my dilemma.)

Poll #1504722 Car Talk

Which vehicle should Cold Girl drive on her daily commute?

Tracker -- not getting into a crash is more important.
Civic -- living through a crash is more important.
I refuse to pick! But...I like polls.
29th-Dec-2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
I drive a Civic, and one of the benefits of such a car, compared to an SUV, tends to be that it's more manouverable (sp?), and thus better for avoiding crashes, than larger vehicles. But, of course ice changes everything, and when you're dealing with ice, I think what you need to be most concerned about is driving something that's least likely to slide out of control in the first place. I'd say the Tracker makes the most sense for your situation.

ETA: maybe it goes without saying, but be extra sure to wear a seatbelt, just in case.

Edited at 2009-12-29 03:05 pm (UTC)
29th-Dec-2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
Indeed, I am one of those seat belt nuts who won't drive off until everybody has their seat belt on. It's a crazy world out there! :)

I don't know if the Tracker counts as an SUV. Do you think it does? It's kinda high off the ground, but it's also tiny. If the SUV were a big, bulky car WITH 4WD, that one would probably win without contention. But little car + ice + 4WD = dilemma. :P

I wish somebody would teach me how to drive on ice, so that I could drive the speed limit like all of the other maniacs on the road.
29th-Dec-2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
hmmm...being high off the ground tends to make a vehicle prone to rolling over, I believe, and, if the car is small, it lacks one of the benefits of a typical SUV, which is that its size protects you somewhat if you do crash (as long as it doesn't roll over)...I wonder how critical 4WD is to control for driving on ice, compared to if you got good snow tires on your Civic? (I've never driven a 4WD.) I think there are insurance actuaries who spend all day creating complicated equations to calculate these sorts of things.

re: driving the speed limit on ice: another probably-goes-without-saying thing: if it doesn't feel safe, keep driving slowly.
29th-Dec-2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, you have named the problem with the Tracker. It is small and lightweight and would roll pretty easily, probably. I think we do have good snow tires on the Civic. It still feels like the Tracker handles better on the ice, but that very well could be entirely created in my head...
29th-Dec-2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
hmmm...if it feels like it's handling better, I doubt it's entirely in your head. Even with good snow tires, I don't always feel 100% in control in really bad weather in my Civic. There might be a handling benefit to 4WD that you can't get any other way...But of course, I'm just guessing.
30th-Dec-2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Yes, anyone who doesn't wear a seat belt at all times is a fucking idiot.
29th-Dec-2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I drive an SUV and I feel way more comfortable in it than any itty bitty car. It really depends on your comfort when you're driving.
29th-Dec-2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
I guess both our vehicles are small, except the Tracker is higher. I guess I need to buy an SUV!

I do feel a bit safer having the 4WD on ice, though. I'm not sure if it's in my head or what...
29th-Dec-2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
Just because you have four-wheel drive doesn't mean that it's better at avoiding accidents. In fact, you're more likely to crash it because it's easier to get going on ice, but still just as hard to stop as any other vehicle. Thus, people get over-confident and they wind up in a ditch.

Personally, I'd trade both of those in for a nice Subaru station wagon. Subarus have all-wheel drive AND good crash test ratings. And they last forever. My Subaru is 20 years old with 160,000 miles, and shows no sign of quitting. I'd go buy a brand new one today, if I could.
29th-Dec-2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Are you my husband?


This was actually my husband's idea LAST winter. Unfortunately, the Suby wagon he found is stick-shift, and I still don't know how to drive stick-shift, nor do I plan to learn during the winter. Maybe next winter I won't have this conundrum. :)
29th-Dec-2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Your husband is a wise man. Handsome, too, no doubt. And he should teach you how to drive a stick, or get you a brand new Subaru with CVT (Continually Variable Transmission). CVT's are what they use on the Prius, too, and it gives more efficient performance than a manual transmission, but you don't have to shift it. In fact, if I hadn't told you about it, you wouldn't have noticed any difference between CVT and a regular old automatic tranny.


The one I want is the new Subaru WRX-STI. That would replace both my winter station wagon and my summer "toy car", a 1985 Mazda RX-7. When you live in Minnesota, it would be nice to have a sportscar that you can also drive in a blizzard. But I'm torn, because the station wagons are just so darn useful compared to a sedan.
2nd-Jan-2010 01:27 am (UTC)
I think my husband thinks you are a super star. You will probably get a friend request from him. ;)
5th-Jan-2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
Indeed he is. :)

When a new Subaru doesn't cost as much as a house, we will buy one!

I have added you to my friends-list.
5th-Jan-2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
You seem like good folks. Adding you back. :)
29th-Dec-2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'd split based on WHICH wintry conditions you're facing...

When there's fresher snow to plow through, go 4WD.

When it's icier but you don't need to get through choppy snow, go with the crash-rating safety.
29th-Dec-2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Sound advice. Thanks Ms. Brewski! :)
29th-Dec-2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
The essence of the question, it seems to me, is how much do you trust the other drivers in Fargo?
29th-Dec-2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
You have really boiled this down to the essence, and the answer is: not a whole lot!!!!
29th-Dec-2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Unless everyone is driving a four-wheel drive Tracker, it's best to drive the Civic.
29th-Dec-2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
I don't/can't drive, so a lot of this doesn't make sense to me, but I sure as hell do like polls!
29th-Dec-2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
I know, I confused it up too much with technical vehicular jargon. BUT the question is really about priority, so you could answer it as a rider. Would you rather ride in a vehicle that crashes less or that kills people less?

TOAST TO POLLS and all their little ticky boxes!
7th-Jan-2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
In that case... well, let's see... if the crash was outright and nobody suffered as they died, then I'd go for Tracker.

Actually, though, I'd trade both cars in for one that didn't suffer from either of these faults... !
30th-Dec-2009 12:06 am (UTC)
I've always felt far safer driving around in my MINI over any other car, including SUVs. This isn't because of its safety rating though, it's because of its handling and the way it sticks to the road. I have however, never driven on ice or snow. In that situation, I fully endorse four-wheel drive. A safer-in-a-crash car doesn't make one less likely to have a crash and still doesn't mean one will walk away every time; not having the crash in the first place is numero uno.
2nd-Jan-2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Go by Public transport.
2nd-Jan-2010 01:26 am (UTC)
I would in a heartbeat! But I live 45 minutes out of town (in a rural area); there is absolutely no type of public transit available where I live. We're working on moving closer to town, though, so hopefully it will be an option in the future. :)
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