around the world – part 42.3 (the two ton sled)

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February 2, 2010 by juniorannex

The two ton sled


Cars are getting too damn smart for their own good; unfortunately Junior is going in the opposite direction.  Thinking I might save a few shekels – because the car rental agencies gouge on everything – I declined snow tires at the hire car station at Munich airport.   

Being an experienced Canuck, I surveyed the piddling amount of snow in the fields nearby, noted the otherwise dry roads and calculated the odds of encountering more snow during this trip – which given past trends should have been low to non-existent.  As it turns out, rather the opposite has occurred, snowing about two inches every night since arriving last week.  Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a cause for concern, except for the following: 

  • The rental variant of this vehicle is not all wheel drive;
  • It does have a very clever traction control computer that denies power to any wheel which might encounter ice, thus for instance making it a little challenging to get moving from a stop.  Yes, one can turn off the traction control, but then you are faced with the option of spinning the tires.  Oh, and did I mention it is an automatic?  Don’t ask, I drive stick, but it was all they had left;
  • While the autobahn benefits from the snow clearing attentions of the highway authorities, local roads not so much;

So lets review: a slightly tired traveller thinking to save money declines snow tires on a  powerful saloon car without all wheel drive = 2 ton sled.


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Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron'scruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C.S. Lewis


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