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Lucky To Be Alive

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
The most dangerous part of skiing? Getting to the ski hill.

Our family trip to a local hill the day before Xmas came to an abrupt end when we hit a patch of ice and our Explorer spun out and rolled over the bank with my with and two young daughters in the truck. Just one of those things... as a forester, having worked years in Northern Canada, I've driven thousands of miles in similar conditions, and our luck just ran out here. Wasn't driving any different than anyone else.

By some miracle, none of us got so much as a scratch, our even any stiff muscles the following day. My wife, who is a paramedic with thousands of calls to her credit, has never seen the likes of it... we all should have been dead. The truck body and frame were pretty bent, but somehow the glass was all intact. Even our ski equipment, which was on the roof rack, with the exception of a bent pole, was unharmed, though the Thule racks were destroyed. I was very impressed with the way the Explorer held together in the crash, but totally shocked with the ease it rolled. No more SUV's for this family.

The truck wasn't insured, but I don't care. We got our lives and health for Xmas. Will try to get skiing next week.

Be careful out there.
post #2 of 9
Thank God you are okay!!!! How terrifying for you and your family.

I have a Subaru Outback and have come to appreciate it's low profile. When driving to the slopes I see so many SUV's and often wonder about their relative safety with regard to being top heavy. Seems like a little spin could be just the right amount of momentum to send them rolling.

This is just my observation and in no way do I mean to bash any SUV.

Again - I'm so glad to hear you are all alright.
post #3 of 9
Sorry to hear of your loss. It is a miracle that no-one was hurt. Are there any things about the accident that you might be able to pass on to us that might help in a similar situation? -- Hope your financial recovery is swift! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 9
JR - Certainly glad to hear everyone's alright. I put our Grand Caravan on its side several years ago. Like you, we all came out ok, but it's a strange feeling "watching" it happen. Strange, but it was just like the movies - it all seemed to happen in slow motion.

I'm more impressed, in your case, with how the skis held together, rather than the vehicle. What are you skiing on??

Hope the rest of the season brings a better time. God (however you see him/her) bless.
post #5 of 9
Glad to hear you and the family are OK.

Don't knock the SUV though. It did protect you.

Maybe a Subaru Forester, or if you have the bucks for it, a Volvo XC wagon would be a good replacement. Less height. Make you feel more comfortable.
post #6 of 9
Happy to hear that your family is ok.

As a former paramedic, my observation about roll over accidents is this. If it is a single vehicle accident, no objects are hit and nobody is ejected, then the injury rate is always low. However, if that same car comes to a sudden stop against a tree, boulder or another car, or if the riders are ejected, then I have seen very serious injuries/fatalities.

I agree with the others who have noted that the typical SUV is a little higher and more prone to roll over than say a Subaru. A good friend of mine rolled a rented Ford Explorer while in Jackson Hole. Just hit a little ice and rolled when they hit the low snowbank. Nobody hurt except for a bruised ego.

I drive a Subaru Outback and feel very safe. Great traction and not so much power that I am a menace on the road. Of course I am looking at the new Subaru WRX. With 227 hp I would probably end up in the ditch in short order.
post #7 of 9
Well again we must all understand that:Four wheel drive, all wheel drive, part time four wheel drive, full time all wheel drive, front wheel drive, and rear wheel drive all have something in common. They don't do well on shear ice. When there is no traction due to ice...there is no traction regardless of drive system, and therefore loss of control becomes a distinct possibility. Also,drive systems have little and probably no influence on the distance needed to stop the vehicle. So while increased traction and control are a result of a four wheel drive system, which also inspires confidence, it may also lead to an increase in speed due to over confidence, in unsafe conditions. Fortunately, there are anti-lock brake systems, but still too much speed due to overconfidence, regardless of drive system, can be a problem.

Unfortunately, JR has learned that, and fortunately for him and his most precious cargo, HIS FAMILY, a vehicle was damaged, but not his family which still lives and is in tact. SO MERRY CHRISTMAS JR, to you and your family. You have your lives, without injury, so may you and yours have a much safer and healthier NEW YEAR !

I drive a Subie with the 6 cylinder engine, and like it very much.Certainly, much more so than the Izusu Trooper that I replaced it with. My wife drives an Acura MDX, which se enjoys very much and we use for long distance drives.

It stands high, but not as high as many SUV's. What it does have is a very wide track, perhaps the widest of any SUV except a Hummer [ which won't fit on 99% of the car wash racks due to its very wide tires.]The Hummer aside, I would imagine that the MDX has the next widest track in relation to overall height in the SUV industry.

So JR, check it out, it may not be quite as roomy as a Ford Explorer, but close, and has two realy ingenious third row seats that can disappear neatly and flat into the floor, just like the third seat does in the Honda Odyssey. Mileage on midgrade gas, about 18 in the city and the low 20's on the highway.

It would be a nice Holiday present to your family, but you will have to order one, since you will have to wait 6-8 weeks to get delivery. They are back logged that far and this has been the case going on now for more than 14 months, since its introduction in the fall of 2000.
post #8 of 9

Wow. Glad to hear somebody was looking out for you.

I drive in the mountains so much and I depend on my car. So, I have a 98 Saab CSE with the Aero engine. It goes uphill great and performs on snow even better.

I drive 2 sets of tires. In the winter, it's Michelin Artic Alpines -- on all fours. Everyone I know with these tires raves about them.

I don't know what your budget is for a new car, but I've heard great things about Subis and Audis. I'm partial to Saabs. If they're good enough for the Vail and Aspen Police departments, they're good enough for me. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the support shown by all. A couple other items of note:

We did indeed come to rest on top of a large rock (which bent the frame), and kind of parallel parked up against the trees on the fill slope of the road. If you can picture it, we struck the trees with the running boards and wheels of the truck. Had the truck rolled another 1/8 turn, the trees would have struck the driver's side roof and glass, with injuries pretty much guarenteed.

One contributing factor in the roll may have been the weight on the roof, raising the C/G. There were about 100lbs of gear and racks up there. There were 4 passengers and luggage inside as well, which raises the C/G; empty, the C/G is lower, as weight is concentrated under the vehicle with the drive train, gas tank, wheels, etc.

Most of my off-highway driving is done in full size pickups or Suburbans, which tend to be quite easy to correct in a skid. Not so the Explorer, which I should have known from a couple previous spins; if the rear wheels kick out even slightly, you've lost it, and steering into the skid doesn't help much. The solution seems to be to just not get into a skid, period.

I have heard great things from many people about the Subaru, and will look into it. Alas, the uncertain economy dictates getting our next vehicle without a loan, so we can't be too choosy. 4WD is nice, but heck, there are lots of old Chevy Sprints in the lot at any ski area, so what do you REALLY need? Not having insurance on the Explorer was not a burden. It had over 300k, and at 250k the black book rate stops at $3000. With $1000 deductible, premiums increasing with a claim, and $2500 saved in collision coverage over 7 years, we actually came out ahead of the insurers... I guess.

One last note... that was the third time in my life that seatbelts saved me and others from serious injury. 'nuff said.
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