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.