Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Life, Cars, and There You Have It

What's up with us & snow & ditches & vehicles & smashing up our most valuable cars & being pulled out of snow & ditches by other people's big strong 4x4 trucks?

I've written about how we are hoping to get into a 4WD snow/tow vehicle with enough room for kids & dogs...something like a Suburban or Yukon XL (you know, a truck that can pull other people out of ditches, and be less prone to low-level damage). Trying to do so responsibly, using money from the sale of our Odyssey to purchase the "new" one AND account for increased gas costs, with perhaps even a bit left over to help with a renovation or replacement of the Cabrio when its time comes.

We've narrowed down the options in our preferred price range, and have the ad written up (but not posted) for our Odyssey. It's been inspected by our mechanic, and we just needed to wash it and take the pictures to put it online.

I've been saying/thinking that if we are really going to sell the minivan, we just need to do it before something happens to it.

I've also recently had the thought that maybe we should be driving the old, increasingly-rusty Cabrio more when we're out together (flashback: said the same thing the very day my beloved Civic was totalled nearly 4 years ago, when we took it out instead of the Durango, to save gas and whatnot).

And just yesterday, driving along the spot our 2007 accident took place (not a road we usually have need to take), we reminisced about the accident, and I had a little thought about whether/when we would be in an accident again, since many folks seem to have several run-ins.

So, if we'd had the Cabrio out today, it would most likely be written off, and we'd be getting more for it from insurance (I expect) than we would get from selling it. And I expect we'd have come out relatively unscathed in any event.

But we had the van out, and so now the Odyssey faces somewhere around $5000+ in bodywork (thankful for insurance in that regard), and its resale value has likely gone down by a couple of thousand due to having a major claim (although it will look even prettier with the wheels all buffed up and bumpers fixed & painted). Won't be back up to snuff for at least a couple of weeks, and we're not sure too many folks will be interested in buying a vehicle that was JUST in an accident. So I'm not sure where this leaves us.

It seems that this morning the snow both caused the problem, and prevented a more serious one given the situation. We were slowing toward a stop sign, and another driver was turning right into the oncoming lane. But she had been on a clear stretch of highway, and was turning onto a slick and snowy side-road. She came into the turn, but her car didn't cooperate in the wet snow, and slid into our lane, coming right at us. Geoff pulled to the side to avoid more direct impact, but her car ran all along the driver's side of our van, from bumper to bumper. Then our front end ended up in an icy snowbank (which very well may have kept us from tumbling about 20 feet down an un-guarded ditch/ravine, into a water drainage area (no water in it, but with a big concrete duct protruding from under the road).

Anyway, here we are. So far, feeling ok...I work with folks injured in motor vehicle accidents, and we've been in a fairly significant one before, so we'll keep an eye on ourselves and go from there.

Took the Odyssey for an appraisal with and insurance-approved service centre, and are waiting for the provincial police to pay us a visit to complete the accident report (after driving into the city and finding out that the city police don't handle reports from our area). Hmm, what is the proper etiquette for hosting a constable in one's home...tea? After Eights?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

How NOT to Test Drive a Vehicle

When taking a vehicle for a wintry test drive in the country, the day after heavy snowfall (on top of multiple previous snowfalls), I do not recommend attempting to pull over on the apparently smooth, snowy shoulder in order to switch drivers. No, not even in a substantial 7-passenger 4WD Pathfinder. (If you insist on doing so, at least make sure your test drive has a trailer hitch).

Of course, if you are looking for some drama and are interested in testing the availability of a miracle, then by all means give this a try!

Just so you don't have to find out for yourself, I will tell you that the flat shoulder you are contemplating might actually be many feet of snow concealing a ditch. And your (test drive) vehicle may end up nearly on its side on the slope of said ditch, partially submerged in snow. And your nearby friend with a truck, and nearby mechanic's father with a tow truck, may not be available. And, without divine intervention, your remaining options are to call the dealer or run off into the fields, never to been seen or heard from again. Unless at that very moment, a friendly stranger named Tony pulls up in his Yukon XL (which, ironically, is what we actually would really like to find...either that or a Suburban...and even more so now), and happens to have a tow strap, which works like a charm. In which case, your heart can start beating again, you can brush the snow off your test drive, and get on with your life.

(Edited to clarify: I feel the need to state that I was NOT driving at the time...because it's my blog, and I can tattle if I want to...and in Geoff's defense, I didn't even clue in that danger lurked beneath that innocent, glittering surface...no idea what was happening until the deal was done. And, one other thing: the Pathfinder is super-cool and fun. But I have two big dogs, hope to have at least 2+ kids in the next few years, and don't pack light (who can pack light in Canada, anyway? One never knows if one will need a sundress or boots and a coat). Not sure where most makers of extended SUVs think the cargo and dogs are supposed to go. And yes, I am a fan of minivans - we love our Odyssey. But our other snowy adventures living outside the city are pointing toward 4WD. And I want to use my travel trailer again. So there you have it.)