Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

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SoCalGal
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Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by SoCalGal » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:45 pm

I'm trying to figure out whether buying two SUVs will be a sane/good financial move.

I had set aside $40K in the bank right now, originally to save towards a house downpayment. I drive a 2009 Minicooper and my husband a 2000 mitsubishi eclipse. I'm not a very good driver that drives about 45 minutes to work everyday. My husband have some medical conditions that if he were to get into a car accident, he will be more likely to die than the average joe or become severely disabled. In the case of his disability, our household income would be cut by 75%.

We recently had two friends, through no fault of their own, get into car accidents. The first friend's career has been severely derailed while the second friend's accident was bad enough that if it happened to my husband, he would suffer disabilities.

So even though it would pretty much wipe out our house downpayment fund, I am seriously considering buying 2 used SUVs. One to protect my husband and one because I am a bad driver. Is this a sound decision? We currently have 3 months worth of emergency fund in our bank. We also support our parents financially with stipends and am considering having a baby in the upcoming year.

Any advice would be great! Thank you!

-------------------------------------------
Some responses to the questions:

I think increasing the emergency fund to 6 months is a good point. I guess the house thing is going to have to wait for long long while.
- The main concern about the mini cooper, even though it is safe, is simple law of physics. A massive vehicle hitting a smaller will pretty much flatten a mini cooper. Not sure the mini cooper is the best especially if I start driving a baby around.

- About me being a bad driver - About all the questions about me being a bad driver. I'm not a terrible driver, and maybe that was a bad choice of words. I've never gotten into an accident in all my years of driving. When I meant a bad driver I was primarily thinking about the fact my husband is more experienced and reacts to instant situations faster than me. At the end of a long day at work I've caught myself being less alert and I am nervous that in situations (e.g. a car back rearing me or t boning me) that I may not be able to react quickly enough. So I am nervous, but I don't think I am a true menace to people on the roads. My two friends got into accidents thorugh no fault of their own (the other driver going down a one way street and hit him. He will drive nothing but SUVs now. The other friend got whiplashed from being rear ended and she now suffers neck pain.) I will look into driving classes to increase my driving confidence.

- My husband has haemophilia and a rare form of osteoperosis. Any accident there is a likelyhood of bleeding to death or his bones being crushed.

- Thanks for all the responses. We're going to go ahead and research safer cars, because we do think there's a need for them. With this being a personal finance thing, my husband and I are very conservative. But I will suggest to him taking out a loan for the car vs. decimating our house fund.
Last edited by SoCalGal on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

livesoft
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by livesoft » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:50 pm

It seems to me that your post is not directly addressing your worries. You seem to be assuming that two SUVs would reduce the severity of your accidents. That might be true, but you would have to check that out.

More directly,

1. How about getting more driver education and training in order to learn to be a better driver?

2. How about investigating which vehicles have the best safety features for you and your spouse?

Full disclosure: I own two SUVs and a station wagon.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by crg11 » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:59 pm

A few suggestions:

1) You must build a much bigger emergency fund, especially given your husband's health issues (current and potential). 3 months isn't enough. I'd go at least 6 months and maybe even a full year given a full disability will significantly affect your family's income. This is probably where the vast majority of that house money should go towards.

2) In your position, I would keep the Mini Cooper. That's a modern enough car to have features like electronic stability (looks like the 2009 Mini Coopers came with it standard) and I'm assuming it's either paid off or soon to be (being 5 years old).

3) You probably gain a significant amount of safety features by upgrading your husband's car (anything 2012 or newer has electronic stability standard, some used cars a few years prior may have it). I wouldn't go with a SUV unless you have a true need for its size. Just because a SUV is bigger doesn't mean its safer...in some cases, SUVs are even more dangerous. You can find regular cars that have excellent safety ratings and features for reasonable prices. Not to mention the gas mileage is far better.

4) You don't sound very confident about your driving. What if you went and took a driver safety course? In some cases, insurance companies offer these that will not only help you learn how to be a better driver, but might even lower your car insurance payments.
Last edited by crg11 on Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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sdsailing
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by sdsailing » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:00 pm

Is a 2009 mini cooper considered to be an unsafe vehicle?

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Fallible » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:07 pm

livesoft wrote:It seems to me that your post is not directly addressing your worries. You seem to be assuming that two SUVs would reduce the severity of your accidents. That might be true, but you would have to check that out.

More directly,

1. How about getting more driver education and training in order to learn to be a better driver?
2. How about investigating which vehicles have the best safety features for you and your spouse?
...
I very much agree with this advice.

Also, could you say why you consider yourself a "bad" driver? That can mean many different things, so it would help to have more detail. If you are a "bad" driver in a Mini-Cooper, would you be a better or worse one in a full-size SUV?

Another question: would your husband's medical condition affect his driving and possibly be a factor in the size vehicle he drives?
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Watty » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:39 pm

One to protect my husband and one because I am a bad driver. Is this a sound decision?
One consideration for your husbands situation is that airbags can cause injuries even to people without health issues. Airbags are sometimes referred to as being first, second, or third generation airbags with each generation being more advanced and smarter in the way they deploy and less likely to injure the person in the car. Your husbands 2000 model year car is 15 years old now and likely has fairly early generation airbags so getting him a car with more advanced airbags sounds like a good idea.

If you get a SUV you will just be a worse driver since they are (generally speaking) harder to control and take longer to stop, and you will be much more likely to kill or hurt someone when you hit them since you will be in a heaver car than you have now.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:44 pm

An SUV is not any more safer than a car, in fact, an SUV comes with it's own set of problems - it's a heavier vehicle, needs more time to stop and your insurance cost will likely go up. SUV's have a high center of gravity, some of them are prone to flip over in accidents. If you want absolute safety - buy a Sherman tank.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by William4u » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:03 pm

I will reiterate some of the earlier advice:

1. Taking a driving course could increase safety more than any other single change.

2. The newer (2012 or newer) cars have significantly improved their safety features. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) alone reduces fatality risks by more than a third. ABS braking and newer airbags are much better on the newer cars. The crash cages and frames crumple much better on a 2012 car than a 2000 car.

Your husband will be significantly safer in any 2012 or later model. Here is some data on car safely. SUVs used to be more dangerous than sedans due to rollover, but ECS changed that and now SUVs and minivans are the safest cars on the road to drive....
http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4605.pdf

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by GerryL » Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:42 pm

You, a professed bad driver, ask: Should I buy an SUV?
I, someone who drives a compact car and who could be sharing the road with you, respond: No.

Bad driver is not a genetic condition. And it is not a condition that an SUV would fix. See previous responses about challenges of driving heavy vehicles.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by gtmn » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:48 pm

The only accidents my family has been in have been rear-end collisions because other people weren't paying attention. My wife was rear-ended in sedan and it protected her well, but the passenger compartment was crushed, so kids would've died had they been in the car. My son and I were rear-ended in an SUV at similar speed differential and while the vehicle was totaled, the front and rear passenger compartments were untouched. I now have 2 SUV's because I believe my greatest chance of getting into an accident comes from someone else's distracted driving.

Although I love the financial aspect of driving a compact, I pay up for more metal between me and a texting driver.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by hmw » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:51 am

gtmn wrote:The only accidents my family has been in have been rear-end collisions because other people weren't paying attention. My wife was rear-ended in sedan and it protected her well, but the passenger compartment was crushed, so kids would've died had they been in the car. My son and I were rear-ended in an SUV at similar speed differential and while the vehicle was totaled, the front and rear passenger compartments were untouched. I now have 2 SUV's because I believe my greatest chance of getting into an accident comes from someone else's distracted driving.

Although I love the financial aspect of driving a compact, I pay up for more metal between me and a texting driver.

I agree with the above. I can't imagine that a mini-cooper will do well against a much larger vehicle. I live in Texas, the land of pick-up trucks and large SUVs. I actually witnessed a car accident today where a large pick up truck rear ended a large SUV. I don't think a mini-cooper will do well in a situation like this.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by mhalley » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:54 am

the 2009 mini cooper does get 4 and 5 star safety rating. It does have abs, but not electronic stability control. Would I upgrade a car just to get esc? Probably not, but if I were upgrading anyway the new car would definitely have it. There is no question that it does help reduce accidents, so if that is a worry then if you can afford it, people upgrade cars for much more frivolous reasons all the time.
This is a list of safest used cars compiled for teenagers, but should apply equally to adults. I assume a new one of the same model would probably be safe also.
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopne ... afest-ones
Note that they do not include small cars on the list, so going up in size does help.
Or go here to look at new car safety ratings by category. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by bowtie » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:42 am

I think that there are voluntary safe driving courses as some here suggest. Not only is that a good thing, but it could help your premium go down. :happy

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Sconie » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:21 am

gtmn wrote:.......I now have 2 SUV's because I believe my greatest chance of getting into an accident comes from someone else's distracted driving.

Although I love the financial aspect of driving a compact, I pay up for more metal between me and a texting driver.
Two thumbs up. My sentiments exactly!
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by nordsteve » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:34 am

AAA is a good resource for driving classes. I'm sure you could go to the local driving school and get lessons at an hourly rate.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Bustoff » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:31 am

This should keep you occupied for awhile.
http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4605.pdf

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:33 am

You need a higher level driving course. Skip Barber offers them, the BMW CCA offers them much cheaper. If you have a cell phone, turn it OFF and put it in the trunk before you start to drive. Pull the fuse for your radio. Distraction causes more accidents than all other causes combined. Don't get a battering ram to hurt someone else more than yourself......correct the problem. Can you carpool and let someone else drive? Pay their expenses and keep yourself out of the driver seat.

Also, SUVs have different safety requirements than cars. They are much LOWER! I haven't done comparisons lately, but years ago, we owned a Chevy Blazer and bought a Subaru Outback. The outback was one of the best rated cars in crashes that existed. (Mercedes is usually #1). The Blazer, as it turned out was one of the worst. Do not assume that a huge, lumbering behemouth is safer. Hit a concrete bridge abutment and the extra weight of the SUV isn't going to help you. The safety design will.
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SoCalGal
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by SoCalGal » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:50 am

Thanks everyone. All this has been super helpful. My husband is aware that not all SUVs are safe and he is looking for 2012 cars with safety features as well. The reports and lists have been very very helpful.

Based on all the input, we've decided to beef up our emergency funds to six months and proceed with buying cars. I'll look into driver safety courses..its just a matter of being busy in every day life to fit another class in. My husband says that I'm also being paranoid and I'm no as bad a driver as I think I am. Any thoughts of buying a house will just have to be postponed...guess we're going to be renters for much longer.

Thanks again.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by dbr » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:01 pm

sdsailing wrote:Is a 2009 mini cooper considered to be an unsafe vehicle?
Yes, what is not published in the safety ratings is the fact that probability of death and severe injury in auto accidents with other vehicles is inversely proportional to vehicle weight. 3000lbs. curb weight is about at the knee in the curve below which one is taking serious risks and above which additional mass is a diminishing factor. EPA does not like this information to be prominently published because it offsets energy consumption incentives. Run-off-the-road and r-o-t-r with fixed object collision work differently.

As far as being a bad driver, gaining safety by driving a larger car endangers others who are in smaller cars and is socially irresponsible, though understandable. A better idea is the already suggested choice of taking a good driving course. An alternative would be to drive less and car pool, use public transit, or (not likely) move one's residence or job location.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by angelescrest » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:06 pm

William4u wrote:I will reiterate some of the earlier advice:

1. Taking a driving course could increase safety more than any other single change.

2. The newer (2012 or newer) cars have significantly improved their safety features. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) alone reduces fatality risks by more than a third. ABS braking and newer airbags are much better on the newer cars. The crash cages and frames crumple much better on a 2012 car than a 2000 car.

Your husband will be significantly safer in any 2012 or later model. Here is some data on car safely. SUVs used to be more dangerous than sedans due to rollover, but ECS changed that and now SUVs and minivans are the safest cars on the road to drive....
http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4605.pdf
Are you saying this because of the law that states esc needs to be in cars 2012 and on? Many cars/SUV manufacturers put them in well before 2012 and the op would just have to make sure they're buying one with it.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by TareNeko » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:08 pm

For driver courses, check your local Porsche club (PCA) and BMW club (BMWCCA). Both clubs have excellent programs here in PNW.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:13 pm

GerryL wrote:You, a professed bad driver, ask: Should I buy an SUV?
I, someone who drives a compact car and who could be sharing the road with you, respond: No.
:D As someone with a "normal" car, I prefer not to be surrounded by unsafe drivers in SUVs. At least give me a fighting chance :D

I understand the OP's concern, but I think she'll gain comfort both by taking a driver's ed course and by driving more, not less.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:41 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (SUVs). We're now discussing driving safety.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by JoeJohnson » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:11 pm

Long-term disability insurance for your husband? That's my #1 question after reading the OP.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Johno » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:12 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:An SUV is not any more safer than a car, in fact, an SUV comes with it's own set of problems - it's a heavier vehicle, needs more time to stop and your insurance cost will likely go up. SUV's have a high center of gravity, some of them are prone to flip over in accidents. If you want absolute safety - buy a Sherman tank.
It's hard to determine statistically what's a safer car, because statistics of injuries/deaths for various vehicles don't correct for what type of driver might tend to drive them. Also collision tests (as IIHS) are in some cases (front collision for example) against immovable walls where the mass of vehicle doesn't matter as much. But in a two vehicle collision the relative masses matter a lot and the smaller vehicle and its occupants are subjected to higher deceleration. That's basic physics, no way around it for a given level of crash protection technology applied to both bigger and smaller vehicles.

OTOH there is still more rollover risk in a SUV, though greatly reduced by ESC and ameliorated by overhead air bags. But it's not true that bigger vehicles necessary have longer stopping distances because scaling up the tires and brakes to make stopping distances comparable is feasible and usually the case. And again, the advantage of weight in a two vehicle collision is real and there's no way around it.

Arguments like 'well if everyone drove lighter vehicles they wouldn't be any less safe' are nice thoughts I guess but irrelevant to the real world where I can't control what car other people buy, and even if everyone drove a Smart, there'd still be commercial trucks. I don't let any member of my family drive anything smaller than a midsized sedan; I make them a generous offer they can't refuse to help out if that's a financial issue. We feel safest in our 4800# (ESC, overhead airbags, very good brakes) SUV, and there's a rational engineering basis for that.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by TareNeko » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:13 pm

Why an SUV? A Volvo station wagon will be safe, provide plenty of room and economical. Humanity should stop the SUV non sense.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by StretchArmstrong » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:53 pm

Johno wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:An SUV is not any more safer than a car, in fact, an SUV comes with it's own set of problems - it's a heavier vehicle, needs more time to stop and your insurance cost will likely go up. SUV's have a high center of gravity, some of them are prone to flip over in accidents. If you want absolute safety - buy a Sherman tank.
It's hard to determine statistically what's a safer car, because statistics of injuries/deaths for various vehicles don't correct for what type of driver might tend to drive them. Also collision tests (as IIHS) are in some cases (front collision for example) against immovable walls where the mass of vehicle doesn't matter as much. But in a two vehicle collision the relative masses matter a lot and the smaller vehicle and its occupants are subjected to higher deceleration. That's basic physics, no way around it for a given level of crash protection technology applied to both bigger and smaller vehicles.

OTOH there is still more rollover risk in a SUV, though greatly reduced by ESC and ameliorated by overhead air bags. But it's not true that bigger vehicles necessary have longer stopping distances because scaling up the tires and brakes to make stopping distances comparable is feasible and usually the case. And again, the advantage of weight in a two vehicle collision is real and there's no way around it.

Arguments like 'well if everyone drove lighter vehicles they wouldn't be any less safe' are nice thoughts I guess but irrelevant to the real world where I can't control what car other people buy, and even if everyone drove a Smart, there'd still be commercial trucks. I don't let any member of my family drive anything smaller than a midsized sedan; I make them a generous offer they can't refuse to help out if that's a financial issue. We feel safest in our 4800# (ESC, overhead airbags, very good brakes) SUV, and there's a rational engineering basis for that.
Some years ago I was driving a heavy load (over 100,000 lbs) over the coast highway. It was a very narrow highway with lots of switchbacks and curves. The guy in front of me was hauling the same thing. Shortly before our destination a small car was passing in a blind corner and hit the truck in front of me head on.

Nothing happened to the driver of the truck. The police sergeant and DOT incident response commander were arguing with each other about which one of them would wipe off the chunks of brain to get into the glove box of the car to pull out the insurance. They needed to be sure to bill the person's insurance for the road cleanup. Was a sobering experience.

I don't remember the equations from physics class, but mass matters.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:14 pm

StretchArmstrong wrote: Some years ago I was driving a heavy load (over 100,000 lbs) over the coast highway. ...
Nothing happened to the driver of the truck. ...
I don't remember the equations from physics class, but mass matters.
Do the math of a 100,000 lb truck v. a 1,000 lb car and a 100,000 lb truck v. 5,000 lb SUV. The difference in acceleration is about 4%. This type of accident is well represented by the crash test into a fixed barrier. In this case the mass of the smaller vehicle does NOT matter.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by dgdevil » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:24 pm

GerryL wrote:You, a professed bad driver, ask: Should I buy an SUV?
I, someone who drives a compact car and who could be sharing the road with you, respond: No.
+1. There are already too many bad SUV drivers in SoCal. BTW, if you a nervous driver now, how will you cope with a baby in the back seat, screaming or otherwise?

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by jdb » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:03 pm

Erhan wrote:Why an SUV? A Volvo station wagon will be safe, provide plenty of room and economical. Humanity should stop the SUV non sense.
+1. Or if insist on SUV our Volvo XC60 is built like a tank and has all the current collision avoidance doodads.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by dbr » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:35 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
StretchArmstrong wrote: Some years ago I was driving a heavy load (over 100,000 lbs) over the coast highway. ...
Nothing happened to the driver of the truck. ...
I don't remember the equations from physics class, but mass matters.
Do the math of a 100,000 lb truck v. a 1,000 lb car and a 100,000 lb truck v. 5,000 lb SUV. The difference in acceleration is about 4%. This type of accident is well represented by the crash test into a fixed barrier. In this case the mass of the smaller vehicle does NOT matter.
While it is true that 1000 lb or 5000 lb is pretty much the same against a 100,000 lb truck, the only collision the same as a fixed barrier is head-on collision of cars of equal mass. When one car is heavier than the other, the lighter car experiences a greater crash severity than in a fixed barrier collision. By that we mean the deceleration is greater than simply hitting an immovable barrier. In fact, in such a case the lighter car completes the impact moving backwards rather than simply stopping dead. That is one reason crash tests into a fixed barrier do not replicate the worst conditions that will be experienced on the road. The saving grace in many or most actual collisions is that they are off-center which reduces the collision severity by allowing significant momentum and energy to be converted to rotation. If the occupants are restrained they will probably not be too badly injured by being thrown to the side with the rotation.

Just as an aside, in rollover collisions everything depends on not being thrown from the vehicle. Otherwise such collisions are highly survivable.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:00 pm

I can tell you also first hand that not all stability controls are equal.

We bought a 2013 Wrangler unlimited and for the winter, equipped it with snow tires.

We also bought a 2013 Subaru Crosstrek and equipped it with snow tires for the winter.

The Jeep is horrid in any emergency maneuvers. My son was driving on a night where the weather was foggy, but the temp dropping rapidly. At the crest of a hill, the road flash froze. He swerved to avoid a black car parked in the road, then swerved again because kids were playing around at the end of a driveway (11pm). The Jeep went out of control and hit a telephone pole. No airbag deployed and he hit the windshield with his head and nose, enough to draw blood. He was wearing his seat belt. The Jeep was totalled... bent frame, hole in the engine, cracked transmission case. It was a hard hit right into the left front wheel, pretty much. I replaced the Jeep with another and he is banned from driving it. I use it to plow my driveway.

The Crosstrek is nothing short of amazing in the snow. Not just the AWD and snows, but the stability control works seamlessly and just gives the vehicle amazing control. Although shorter than our previous outback, it handles better.

I don't know how to find good stability control reviews, but look for them.

Although we have a couple SUVs, to me, the fewer on the road, the better. I also drive a 2000 pound Lotus Elise. Honda Fits look like SUVs to me.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:40 pm

Yes this is a good move and is an excellent real world implementation of Newton's Second Law: Force = Mass x Acceleration. My family as implemented this vehicle strategy and has had superb results.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by bertilak » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:54 pm

I didn't read the whole thread but it seems to me that if you are going to have two cars t might be better to have two that focus on different optimized uses. In other words, diversify!
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Fallible » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:14 pm

StretchArmstrong wrote:...
Some years ago I was driving a heavy load (over 100,000 lbs) over the coast highway. It was a very narrow highway with lots of switchbacks and curves. The guy in front of me was hauling the same thing. Shortly before our destination a small car was passing in a blind corner and hit the truck in front of me head on.

Nothing happened to the driver of the truck. The police sergeant and DOT incident response commander were arguing with each other about which one of them would wipe off the chunks of brain to get into the glove box of the car to pull out the insurance. They needed to be sure to bill the person's insurance for the road cleanup. Was a sobering experience.

I don't remember the equations from physics class, but mass matters.
In a head-on collision with a large truck hauling that weight, I suspect the driver of any size car or SUV would not fare well. Safe driving matters.
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noco-hawkeye
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by noco-hawkeye » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:34 pm

This is a finance focused type group, and as such, I don't think it would make much sense to get two SUVs. If you had a family with 8 kids and 3 dogs I might see that, but otherwise how much gas is required, the insurance.... etc. I'm not a fan of seeing everyone rush to get the biggest cars they can, does the physics argument still hold up if everyone has a huge SUV? Seems like in that case your odds would be diminished again.

I think the comments about keeping a good emergency fund around (6 months) and long term disability insurance - even looking at your total insurance coverage makes more sense to me than getting 2 SUVs.

A decent sized SUV anymore costs something like 20-30k over what a sedan would cost (I'm thinking like the Yukon / Expedition / Land Cruiser variety). That much money, times 2, for this peace of mind..... I don't see the numbers to support that. But this is peace of mind we are talking about - and we all do things that don't make sense on paper, to get some peace of mind.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Novine » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:41 pm

How about living somewhere that you're not depending on driving or driving so much? Automobile accidents is one of the leading causes of death for children. Sounds like everyone would benefit if you, your husband and future child were on the road less frequently.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by livesoft » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Speaking of piece of mind …
StretchArmstrong wrote:[…] The police sergeant and DOT incident response commander were arguing with each other about which one of them would wipe off the chunks of brain to get into the glove box of the car to pull out the insurance.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:48 pm

livesoft wrote:Speaking of piece of mind …
StretchArmstrong wrote:[…] The police sergeant and DOT incident response commander were arguing with each other about which one of them would wipe off the chunks of brain to get into the glove box of the car to pull out the insurance.
Do you think that the dead brain contained the remnants of the mind?

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ogd
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by ogd » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:43 pm

SoCalGal: Please reconsider this.

I will echo a few of the posters above and say that getting a big car because you're a bad driver is irresponsible if not downright murderous. The flipside of SUVs is that they can make some otherwise mundane collisions lethal because of the height difference vs a normal car. How could you live with yourself if, God forbid, something like that happened, knowing that your decision to arm yourself instead of learning to drive better caused one or more avoidable deaths?

The Mini is a very safe car and it's stable and maneuverable which could help you avoid an accident entirely.

As constructive suggestions: consider taking some of that money and investing in driving lessons. Use a little of it to hire someone to do an errand or two for you if you can't find the time. Consider getting (relatively cheap) Uber or Lyft rides when you're really feeling not up to driving. Get a handsfree but try to avoid using it unless necessary. Stay focused at the wheel, which is another plus for the Mini if you ask me as you're so much more connected to the road than with a soft and sluggish SUV. Consider satellite radio so you don't have to mess with the radio or the phone all the time. All of these would improve your safety and everyone else's.

Frankly, I am disappointed with the number of encouraging replies. Where's the civic spirit guys?

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by William4u » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:50 pm

boroc7 wrote:
William4u wrote:I will reiterate some of the earlier advice:

1. Taking a driving course could increase safety more than any other single change.

2. The newer (2012 or newer) cars have significantly improved their safety features. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) alone reduces fatality risks by more than a third. ABS braking and newer airbags are much better on the newer cars. The crash cages and frames crumple much better on a 2012 car than a 2000 car.

Your husband will be significantly safer in any 2012 or later model. Here is some data on car safely. SUVs used to be more dangerous than sedans due to rollover, but ECS changed that and now SUVs and minivans are the safest cars on the road to drive....
http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4605.pdf
Are you saying this because of the law that states esc needs to be in cars 2012 and on? Many cars/SUV manufacturers put them in well before 2012 and the op would just have to make sure they're buying one with it.
Yes, some (but far less than 50% of) cars had ECS and ABS before 2012. After 2012, both ESC and ABS are required. For example, all Toyotas have ESC and ABS 2010 and beyond.

However, car substructure technology has also improved over time as well, so newer cars crumple better in a crash. So a 2014 car with ESC will typically be significantly safer than a 2005 car with ESC.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by berntson » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:29 pm

I posted this chart from a federal safety report in another thread awhile back.

Image

A few things about the chart jump out.

+ Minivan drivers have the lowest fatality rate, even lower than SUV drivers. They are also less likely to kill other drivers.
+ The safest subcompacts are safer than many SUVs and almost as safe as the safest SUVs. The model of car you buy probably matters more than the type.
+ The Camry, a nice standard midsize car, is safer than any of the SUV models and half as likely to kill other drivers.
+ Drivers of larger vehicles are more likely to kill other drivers. Pickup trucks are especially dangerous to others.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by mortal » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:02 pm

I also vote for the driver course. I've done the two day driving school myself.

http://skipbarber.com/driving-programs/

In my experience driving a truck, the heavier the vehicle, and the higher the center of gravity, the harder it will be for you to *avoid* an accident in the first place People talk about ESC like it's magic, but all the electronics in the world isn't going to bend the laws of physics for you.

Then again, statistically speaking, MINIVANS are the safest vehicles on the road. Why not buy two used minivans instead? :twisted:

I suspect whatever advice we give here, you've already made up your mind, and are simply looking for support in your decision. (This isn't a dig against you, the majority of car threads here are guilty of the exact same thing)

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William4u
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by William4u » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:28 pm

Berntson, that is an interesting chart. This one (from your previous post) is good too..

Image

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Johno » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:38 pm

ogd wrote:
Frankly, I am disappointed with the number of encouraging replies. Where's the civic spirit guys?
'Civic spirit', to deliberately expose yourself to more risk of death in a smaller vehicle? Just think how civic minded it would be to ride a motorcycle. I hope you're joking, as to the issue in general.

As to the OP specifically, lots of people are bad drivers, perhaps most. Just very few are willing to admit it. Now maybe the OP saying 'I'm a bad driver' means the usual low level of honesty and self awareness of driving skills and actually means *unbelievably* bad driver...but I give the polite benefit of the doubt and assume she's just being more honest about her skills than the other large % of bad drivers. So in IOW it's hard to tell whether she's really much worse if at all than the pretty bad median driver I encounter where I live. And lacking this knowledge, I tend to default to my own situation. I don't consider myself an especially good driver, but again perhaps I'm just more modest than most, objectively speaking I've had only one minor tap in a parking lot in the last 30+yrs. But the idea of driving a lighter vehicle so I and my family can get hurt in an accident instead of somebody else is IMO a bunch of...no wait, this is a polite forum...it's unconvincing. :D

Re: Berntson, interesting graph but again the key missing piece is statistical control for what type of driver drives what type of car. This might factor into low mini-van death rates, if the stereotype is true of minivans often driven by parents carrying young kids, who have a special incentive to drive carefully. Without that statistical control, I wouldn't draw much conclusion from differences in relatively narrow categories of vehicle, such as suggesting getting a mini-van if one wants to be safest. Whereas again there's a fundamental reason to believe weight difference between heavier and lighter personal vehicles is significant influence on survivabilty in a collision with another vehicle (that's not an order of magnitude heavier than any personal vehicle).

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:01 pm

dbr wrote: While it is true that 1000 lb or 5000 lb is pretty much the same against a 100,000 lb truck, the only collision the same as a fixed barrier is head-on collision of cars of equal mass.
Look at the collision in the frame of reference moving with the center of gravity of the two vehicles. The much larger truck does a creditable imitation of an immovable object, so results from the fixed barrier crash are directly applicable. You do need to add the velocities of the two vehicles to figure out the speed for the equivalent fixed barrier crash.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by berntson » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:03 pm

Johno wrote: Re: Berntson, interesting graph but again the key missing piece is statistical control for what type of driver drives what type of car. This might factor into low mini-van death rates, if the stereotype is true of minivans often driven by parents carrying young kids, who have a special incentive to drive carefully. Without that statistical control, I wouldn't draw much conclusion from differences in relatively narrow categories of vehicle, such as suggesting getting a mini-van if one wants to be safest. Whereas again there's a fundamental reason to believe weight difference between heavier and lighter personal vehicles is significant influence on survivabilty in a collision with another vehicle (that's not an order of magnitude heavier than any personal vehicle).
The full report can be found here. The authors in fact consider the driver distribution issue and present data in an appendix. They find that once we adjust for the fact that older drivers tend to drive midsize cars, midsize cars are in fact even safer compared to SUVs than the chart indicates. Here is what the authors say at the end of the paper:
In summary, although we cannot rule out driver behavior as the explanation of the high risk of some SUVs or the low risk of some cars, we have found no evidence for it.More study is needed, but our tentative conclusion is that, while the driver behavior variables we study here are an important determinant of risk, they are not responsible for the most important result of this study—that SUVs and pickup trucks are more dangerous than most cars.
While drivers of large vehicles may feel safer than drivers of ordinary mid-sized cars, there seems to be little evidence they actually are. Given that, I think the answer to the OP's question is that it doesn't make sense to buy two SUVs. Better to buy an ordinary midsize car that is safer and gets better gas milage.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:34 pm

berntson wrote: While drivers of large vehicles may feel safer than drivers of ordinary mid-sized cars, there seems to be little evidence they actually are. Given that, I think the answer to the OP's question is that it doesn't make sense to buy two SUVs. Better to buy an ordinary midsize car that is safer and gets better gas milage.
The report you quoted is from 2002, i.e. before the widespread adoption of ESC in SUVs. ESC drastically cuts roll-over risk in SUVs. While the conclusion above might have been true 10 years ago, the numbers are not very relevant for the latest generation of SUVs, with ESC and generally much more car-like chassis/suspension.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:50 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
dbr wrote: While it is true that 1000 lb or 5000 lb is pretty much the same against a 100,000 lb truck, the only collision the same as a fixed barrier is head-on collision of cars of equal mass.
Look at the collision in the frame of reference moving with the center of gravity of the two vehicles. The much larger truck does a creditable imitation of an immovable object, so results from the fixed barrier crash are directly applicable. You do need to add the velocities of the two vehicles to figure out the speed for the equivalent fixed barrier crash.
Adding the speeds of the two vehicles is not a good approximation, even for a collision of a passenger car with a twice-as-heavy SUV. Obviously, for a head-on collision of two identical vehicles at identical speed v, the change of speed in an (inelastic) collision is also v. For a collision with a vehicle twice as heavy, the total change of velocity of the lighter one increases by 33%, not 100%.
Last edited by Wolkenspiel on Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by mortal » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:07 pm

Ugh, people seem to have a fundimental misunderstanding of what ESC does. It tames oversteer / understeer conditions. It does *not* give you any more grip to avoid the accident.

Just for an example, a honda accord can pull .87 latteral g on the skid pad. A Honda CR-V can only pull .78 (source C&D). This may sound like very geeky stuff, but it has serious implications for how a car handles, and how well you can avoid hitting someone in the first place.

TL;DR Sedan with ESC is safer than a SUV with ESC

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