It’s common to hear people disparage SUV owners with the rationale that there’s no way they could need the power, size, big tires, and 4-wheel-drive for the kind of driving they do. The TV commercials has often depicted these automobiles being driven up steep rocky mountains and the like – impressive, perhaps, but arguably overkill for just tooling around town getting groceries and taking the kids to soccer practice.
Well, anyone who says that hasn’t tried “tooling around” an upper Midwest town after the kind of weather we’ve been having the past few weeks/months. Small residential streets like the one I live on may as well be considered all but impassible, being patchily covered by thick, solid ice and packed-down snow, having deep ruts where other cars have driven. Driving on this crap feels a lot like what I imagine driving up a mountain with no identifiable roads must be like. Or like King Kong has picked up your car and is trying to use it as a maraca. Unless you’ve lost traction completely and are sliding towards the curb, then the sliding part feels a lot smoother, up until you hit a parked car.
Your best bet is to get onto a more major, high-traffic street as quickly as possible. Besides having higher maintenance (and thus plowing) priority, the continuous traffic retards accumulation in the first place. But even these are no picnic – instead of lumped up snow and ice with deep ruts in it, you get big gaping holes where pavement has broken loose from the freezing of the ground and several passes by snowplows. One way or another, be prepared to spend a few hundred on a new front-end by spring.