Friday, January 09, 2009

4X4 works...when you use it.

Remember the days of rear-wheel drive cars?

It seems like the cars produced now are all-wheel drive, on-demand 4-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. The only brand new car with rear wheel drives are sports cars.

Most every family in South Dakota probably has a 4-wheel drive car in the garage...if you don't you probably have a front wheel drive. You have to with the snow and ice we get around here. That brings me to a story that happened on Wednesday night.

Grandpa Bob picked up Maxim from school and took him to the bank, I think it is kind of a Grandpa "show and tell" thing. He gets to show off his grandson. On their way home dad took a "back entrance" to the house and while avoiding an overgrown tree limb he hung a front tire on a snowbank and his rear tires were on pure ice. He tried to rock it out, but he and Maxim ended up hoofing it to the house. (It was only a 2 block walk.)

When I got to their house dad informed me that I had to pull him out, so we drove the Yukon over to the spot and hooked up a chain. I was actually surprised that he was stuck with a 4-wheel drive pick-up in such a little snow pile. I barely pulled him and he popped out. On the short drive back to the house I wondered if the Yukon's auto 4-wheel drive even kicked in.

We got to the garage and I mentioned that I barely even put tension on the chain...he said, "Yeah, it probably would have helped if I would have put the pick-up in 4-wheel drive!" The whole time he was stuck he was trying to get out with only the 2 back wheels spinning on ice.

NOW I MUST ALSO COME CLEAN...I razzed him about it for a while, then dropped it because I remember my own misfortune only 3 weeks prior. We were loaded up and ready to head to town and the windshield was covered with a fine misting of ice, so I tried the lazy man's scrape of spraying some wiper fluid on it and just driving it.

I made it about 400 yards before I ran smack into a huge drift that blew into our road the night before. About a half hour later I got the Expedition unstuck...with the help of the little Subaru!

Winter driving tip #1 and #2: Scrape your windows and make sure your 4-wheel drive is engaged before you declare yourself stuck!