Sometimes An Ugly Car is Better

Peaceful, yet disconcerting to some - Credit: Steve.M~/Flickr.com

Winter has arrived in Montreal quite suddenly and quite unceremoniously. Due to a series of mishaps with a Nissan Maxima tester (not my fault, I swear) I am behind the wheel of a vehicle I already drove a few weeks ago; The Dinosaur.

When Nissan told me the Maxima was out of commission and would I mind terribly if I took the QX56 instead, I was a bit miffed. I’d already driven the QX56 and it’s large lumbering frame is heavy on gas and light on the nimble driving moves.

Then I saw the weather forecast and eagerly accepted.

Yesterday, close to 17cm of fluffy white stuff blanketed Montreal and its surrounding areas (and I’d like to point out that our “trusted” weather people called for 1-2cm — thanks guys, really good job there). This seemingly harmless white stuff caused chaos on the roads and sidewalks across the city (and still is today as it continues to fall), but I wasn’t stressed.

As I climbed behind the wheel of the behemoth warming my hands on the heated steering wheel and waiting for the car to heat up, I clicked the “snow” button and popped the beast into “4H” — I was ready to take on anything the weather gods and horribly cleared Montreal roads had to throw my way.

As I trundled along the packed, unplowed, snow-covered streets of Montreal I took in my fellow motorists and their winter driving skills.

I was pretty disappointed.

It seems that no matter what the weather or conditions, we still have the most aggressive, incosiderate and fastest drivers in Eastern Canada — what a shame.

The behemoth served me well on my 2-hour-and-45-minute journey home (a journey that would normally take me approximately 1 hour, max), despite the trecherous conditions around me. And why? Not because I had AWD. Not because I was in a supremely heavy vehicle. Not because I clicked the “snow” button. And definitely not because I had C in the car with me to keep me company and point out which routes and side streets I should be on to avoid the mess of traffic.

No, it served me well because I drove it well.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn but… TOOT.

Winter driving is a skill, and it’s a skill us Montrealers (and really anyone who lives in a city that gets annually dumped with snow) should have down pat — yet somehow we don’t.

How is it that year after year someone thinks they can careen down the highway in their front-wheel drive, 8-year-old Honda Civic and not crash into something when they try to suddenly stop? How is it that AWD drivers still think they are invincible against ice? How is it that drivers think they can tailgate and still have enough time to brake suddenly when there’s two feet of snow on the road? How is it that people still don’t know that in order to see out of their windshields they have to clean the snow off their cars?

As I lumbered along in the Infiniti QX56, surveying the mess of cars, snow and emergency lights around me, I felt happy to be in the ugliest car on the road becaus I knew I was also in one of the safest.

Drive on,
- M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on December 7, 2010.

6 Responses to “Sometimes An Ugly Car is Better”

  1. This got me thinking… you were safe alright… but what happen if one of those civic driver hit you? Does your insurance covers the repair for this expensive QX56 or is it the company who lend you this test car who deals with it? Just curious… not that it’s any of my business.

    Thanks,
    Jay-F

    P.S.: Nice snow flakes animation on your blog.

    • Hey Jay-F,

      Good question!

      I sign a waver every time I take a car, and I am liable for the deductible which ranges from company to company (from $250 up to $10,000). However, it all depends on the situation. I’ve been backed into in parking lots, dented side panels, bumped bumpers and had the damage waved off. I’ve also had a very expensive car broken into (rear passenger window smashed in) that required $4,000 worth of repairs and the manufacturer deemed it not my fault and waved the rather large deductible in that case too.

      It really all depends on the situation — most manufacturers are pretty understanding unless you were clearly driving like an idiot and it’s all your fault. :)

      Thanks for the read!!

      Drive on,
      - M.

      • Wow looks like you had your share of small incidents. It must be stressful when it’s not your car and you need to explain to the company.

        Thanks for the reply.

        J

  2. Oh and thanks for noticing the snowflakes! I thought it was a nice, wintery touch … but really I should thank WordPress for offering it up this season! :)

    Drive on,
    - M.

  3. So, winter driving tips then?

    A Swiss guy said to me once that if you have a 2wd car, snow tyres, some chains, a spade and a bag of dishwasher salt there is nowhere you cannot drive to that is worth getting to.

    There is a bit of a dearth of information about driving in the snow…

  4. [...] winter driving becomes somewhat of an art here, it’s not just about the way we drive during the winter that brought to mind this soon-to-be [...]

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