Monday, November 16, 2009

On Impractical Vehicle Ownership...

So, I love my vehicle. I love everything about it. I love kicking up dust, spinning out on gravel, leaving tire marks on the road, and blaring music while I drive aimlessly through rural routes. I think everyone in the world knows how much I love my JEEP.

But now that winter is coming, I have some reservations.

The JEEP is a spinny, spinny vehicle. The first time I drove it in heavy rain, I almost spun into a bridge after having eased very gently onto the gas and off of the clutch. A few other times we have done some near donuts not on purpose, and these moments scare me. I love doing things like this under my control. The rest of the time? Bad news, Bear.

I've been consulting a number of people (read: everyone I know) on this matter. I've heard a number of responses on how to drive a JEEP in the winter. Some people have stated that the first time I see snow, I should turn on the four wheel drive and leave it there until the snow melts. Other people I have consulted have warned me against four wheel drive, stating that should I be in four-by and spin out of control, I will then have four wheels propelling me towards the nearest tree or hydro pole rather than two. Interesting logic, this.

I consulted my brother, and he had some interesting information on driving in four wheel drive for me. First, he asked me exactly who I had been consulting. I rattled off a list of people and he stopped me. He then stated "I'm willing to bet these are the same people who think that if you shoot a twelve guage shotgun, it will kick so hard you'll fly back twenty feet and land on your ass. They also probably think that it actually is possible to tip a cow." Right. Consider the source. That little tidbit.

I've been pondering a number of ways I can make my vehicle handle better in the winter. Being rear wheel drive, I've thought about packing some sandbags into the back to make it heavier, thus lessening my chances of kicking out sideways in slippery conditions. I've also thought of buying new snow tires for it, despite the fact that I can ill afford this move.

The end advice that I really plan on taking comes from my mother and my brother: Gentle touch. Soft hands. Drive slow. One of my reservations about owning such an underpowered vehicle is that I am always holding up traffic: It takes a long time to get from first gear to fifth, and people always end up passing me when I turn onto a highway, no matter how much time I allow. My mother tends to say I should forget about the rest of the people on the road and worry about myself.

Not spinning the tires is often difficult for me. Sure, there are times when I go out into the middle of nowhere and spin for the sheer joy of spinning. I have to say, though, that I'm actually not that good with the clutch and there are a few places that I spin my tires accidentally as I try not to stall the engine. I've been practicing this as much as I can and I have to say that after seven months of bliss together, Da JEEP and I have still not gotten it right.

I suppose that now all there is to do is wait and see, use the gentle touch, try not to spin the tires, and hope that the JEEP and I do not meet our end together in a haze of snowy glory.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

Slow and steady, gentle with the clutch and only drive as fast as you feel safe.

I seldom use the fourwheel drive in truck-o-saurus, only in extreme circumstances like there's 16 inches of snow and the ploughs have not been out yet. Otherwise, a fourwheel drive vehicle is like any other.

12:20 PM  

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