Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

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

Post by Fallible » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:20 pm

ogd wrote:SoCalGal: ...
The Mini is a very safe car and it's stable and maneuverable which could help you avoid an accident entirely. ...
I don't know much about the Mini, but I've driven mostly small cars all my life and think your comment on maneuverability is an important one. Many times I've been able to get out of harm's way because my car was small and there was room to do so. In those situations, I would not have had that option with a large vehicle. But key to being able to do that is driving defensively, watching for problems to avoid in the first place.

Also, for the OP: having two cars of the same size would avoid having to adjust from a smaller car to a full-size one. My parents once had a full-size van at the time I was driving a VW Rabbit; occasionally we'd switch cars and it always took some time for me to adjust to the van's size and change my driving habits. I did pretty well except for one time when I misjudged distance and got the van hung up on a car wash rack.
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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 11:25 pm

Johno wrote: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.
Civic spirit, to me, means to deliberately sacrifice a little of one's selfish good for the good of others.

It's not a "who kills who", some kind of fight to the death, like you make it sound. The best outcome for everyone involved is that no-one is hurt. The bigger car you buy, the less likely you make that outcome. The OP acknowledges that she's not a good driver and in my experience that means something regardless of what the statistics are on the good driver side. It angers me that that's a reason to buy a bigger machine in explicit preference to trying to get better. I'm also taking it a little personally because a friend of mine had her car destroyed by somebody just like that, although admittedly less apologetic and more flippant about the situation. Luckily, no one was hurt but it could have easily been otherwise; and yes it was a silly driver mistake. The lady said that her husband put her in the Escalade after the third accident and he's rich enough to cover insurance and damages every couple of years. I really really wished at that point that there was a way you could sue somebody off the road.

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

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:14 am

Wolkenspiel wrote:
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%.
I'm talking about a truck more than 20 times the weight of the smaller vehicle. Why would a collision with a vehicle only twice as large be relevant?

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

Post by JoeJohnson » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:50 am

Another question I have for OP: Do you feel the need to pay $40k cash for these SUVs or would you be willing to take out auto loans? Rates are very low at the moment and would not decimate your house down payment fund.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:16 am

ogd wrote:Frankly, I am disappointed with the number of encouraging replies. Where's the civic spirit guys?
I am not a guy but I agree with you.

Victoria,
a proud owner of a civic honda.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by interplanetjanet » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:30 am

berntson wrote: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:
If driver distribution has been controlled for, there are still some very puzzling anomalies here. The Geo Prizm, for example, was basically a rebadged Corolla - yet the two have noteworthy differences in driver risk in this chart.

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

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:52 am

SoCalGal wrote: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 - I'm not that bad. I have not gotten into any accidents yet and I try to be alert. I'm just nervous and feel its a matter of time. Especially after a long day at work I may not be that alert.

- 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.
Actually for their size minis are pretty safe.

From the data, it looks like:

- modern cars are best because of better quality safety equipment, especially ESC, especially on an SUV
- I can see the attractions of a hunk of metal around you, eg a Volvo SUV. For your husband, this extra safety may be worth it. I perceive Volvo, Mercedes, BMW to be high on safety, but one should check Consumer Reports and other sources
- you should consider a minivan which appears to have the highest safety record of all

To get a very safe, modern, car for your husband I would consider leasing. OK it's not great economics, but this isn't purely an economic situation.

One should understand. In a crash, an SUV might protect you better. In terms of getting into a crash situation, or causing that crash, it might be worse. Physics pertains Kinetic Energy = mass x velocity-squared. A bigger car has more kinetic energy, therefore is harder to stop and harder to control.

You are a 'bad driver' and we'd have to get to the bottom of this. What do we mean? Is it because you multi-task when driving? Too nervous? Or simply that you have had a couple of accidents and so label yourself a 'bad driver'.

Because if you really are a bad driver, all the SUV in the world won't save you. And even if it does, you might have the death or severe injury of another person on your conscience.

This may be fixable by education. You can progress to quite a high level of driving skills via special courses. With any motor skill, practice does indeed make perfect (if practice is coupled with effective feedback and repetition). People don't become tennis pros by training 30 minutes a day.

If it's a mental thing, then stuff like learning to meditate can help.

By the by, are you dyspraxic (aka 'clumsy child syndrome' difficulties in the visual sphere with coordination, sense of direction etc.-- the visual hemispheric version of dyslexia with writing)? There are forms of physical therapy that can help with this. Dyspraxia might make you a 'bad driver' eg bad depth perception.

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

Post by Johno » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:27 am

ogd wrote:
Johno wrote: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.
Civic spirit, to me, means to deliberately sacrifice a little of one's selfish good for the good of others.

It's not a "who kills who", some kind of fight to the death, like you make it sound. The best outcome for everyone involved is that no-one is hurt. The bigger car you buy, the less likely you make that outcome. The OP acknowledges that she's not a good driver and in my experience that means something regardless of what the statistics are on the good driver side. It angers me that that's a reason to buy a bigger machine in explicit preference to trying to get better. I'm also taking it a little personally because a friend of mine had her car destroyed by somebody just like that, although admittedly less apologetic and more flippant about the situation. Luckily, no one was hurt but it could have easily been otherwise; and yes it was a silly driver mistake. The lady said that her husband put her in the Escalade after the third accident and he's rich enough to cover insurance and damages every couple of years. I really really wished at that point that there was a way you could sue somebody off the road.
On the general issue I still have to completely disagree with you. Myself and family come first. If you really walk the walk acting differently than that, that's up to you, but I can't take seriously any idea that the safety of my vehicle *to us* is 'selfish interest' in any but a good way. And perhaps it's you who interpret the merits of SUV v car as 'kill somebody else'. There's also a lot of politics and culture war stuff that carries over to SUV's. Let's not get into it, but suffice to say I don't agree nor see any real evidence that our 4800# is any more dangerous to anyone else than a 4800# vehicle of any other kind, and mass protects: that's physics. If I can afford it and am allowed to by law, I'm going to take advantage of it. And while I don't consider myself any longer that great a driver in terms of situational awareness and reflex in complex traffic situations, I don't drive in a way (or area, type of roads) where rollover is at all likely in ESC equipped SUV (no ESC is not magic, but largely extinguishes that risk given a certain style and conditions of driving)

Again on the OP I think we're also just seeing it differently. I see a world where poor drivers absolutely infest the roads, are even perhaps a majority. So this one, unlike 95% of the others (including 99.9% of the male ones :wink: ), admits it, good for her. And I didn't say to buy an SUV and forget being a better driver, having admitted she doesn't drive well the logical solution would include doing things to get better at it. But I'm just thinking more big picture where large masses of poor drivers are and will be allowed to drive. So back to the reality of protecting oneself and family.

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

Post by TareNeko » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:00 am

Johno wrote: Let's not get into it, but suffice to say I don't agree nor see any real evidence that our 4800# is any more dangerous to anyone else than a 4800# vehicle of any other kind, and mass protects: that's physics. If I can afford it and am allowed to by law, I'm going to take advantage of it.
Well, why not fill the 4800lb SUV with sand bags to increase safety then?

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

Post by leonard » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:10 am

So, for a poor driver, the solution is to buy a bigger vehicle that keeps them safe but will inflict more damage on the non-poor driver. Keeping this from being locked, I will just characterize this as a classic economic externality.
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Re: Is buying two SUVs a sane/good financial move?

Post by dbr » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:17 am

Erhan wrote:
Johno wrote: Let's not get into it, but suffice to say I don't agree nor see any real evidence that our 4800# is any more dangerous to anyone else than a 4800# vehicle of any other kind, and mass protects: that's physics. If I can afford it and am allowed to by law, I'm going to take advantage of it.
Well, why not fill the 4800lb SUV with sand bags to increase safety then?
It is possible that the engineering done to protect the occupants of that vehicle in a collision will be less effective then. Whether or not this is actually true would depend on the details. It is also possible that vehicle handling will be compromised.

The optimum engineering of vehicles and the optimum mix of vehicles on the road to minimize death and injury vehicle by vehicle and to minimize death and injury across the entire driver population is a complicated problem. The solutions are sometimes obvious, sometimes counter intuitive, and some times involve conflicts and compromises.

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

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:27 am

Johno wrote:Let's not get into it, but suffice to say I don't agree nor see any real evidence that our 4800# is any more dangerous to anyone else than a 4800# vehicle of any other kind, and mass protects: that's physics. .
That begs 2 questions, though:

1. does a family need a 4800 lb car? They did not have such until the mid 1990s. Not generally.

2. does body form not have an impact on lethality? The high riding nature of the SUV would, intuitively, make it more dangerous to other vehicles-- tending to ride over them in a crash, and through the passenger cabin.

"Mass protects. That's physics" is a tendentious statement to say the least. Where the mass is, and how it is, has a big impact.

The original SUVs were '2 zone' not '3 zone'. Light Trucks (2 zone) had lagged safety in cars (3 zone)-- cars had additional protection for the passenger cabin due to the additional crumple zone. The lack of that crumple zone (and other features) made SUVs unsafe. Plus longer stopping distances. And rollovers.

As I understand it SUVs have since become more 'car like' and also less likely to roll over. However the stopping distance problem remains. That *is* physics.

The other problem is how SUV drivers drive. The remoteness from the road gives a sense of overconfidence and detachment, a behavioural issue. I've seen that in action on icy roads. Again the more recent SUVs have reduced this problem, as far as I can tell (generally smaller and more car like).

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

Post by bnes » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:03 pm

SoCalGal wrote:I'm not a very good driver that drives about 45 minutes to work everyday.
Consider that the accident rate for SUV's may be higher than for a lower-slung passenger car. Particularly in the case of "bad driving"
a jerk of the wheel is more hazardous in an SUV.

You sound like a great candidate for a Google Self Driving Car.
Or a carpool.
Or a train ride.

If you can provide specifics on your commute start & end points, perhaps the group can help you find alternative travel.
http://tripplanner.transit.511.org/ is one region's trip planning tool.

---
Consider how many hours the driving class would be,
vs. the number of hours needed to pay back two bloated SUV loans,
vs. the cost of buying a house in an area with a less hairy commute.

Your SUV plan as presented does not seem like a "good" move.

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

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:01 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked. We're long past the financial and vehicle crash performance, now discussing morality.There's no added value to continue. See: Forum Policy
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