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Old 09-08-2013, 07:14 PM
 
5 posts, read 17,411 times
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Currently drive a ford fusion. Looking to get a 4x4 suv. I have read that you don't really need a huge truck to get through the winter.

Should a 2014 ford explorer 4x4 with a v6 do just fine for handling the snow and ice? A bigger suv like the expedition, and chevy tahoe/suburban seem just too much for the anchorage/eagle river areas but then again we have never lived in AK.

Could anyone provide some insight?

Thanks
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Anchorage Suburbanites and part time Willowbillies
1,708 posts, read 1,739,104 times
Reputation: 875
I prefer a larger SUV or full size pick-up for my family. With the lack of driving skills that most South Central drivers possess, especially just after a snowfall, it is good to have extra metal around you. It is also nice to be higher up so that you can look down on those Subarus, and when one of them run a red light, another popular Anchorage driver activity, you can drive over them like a speed bump and everyone in your SUV is unharmed. And before you mini car drivers call me names remember I am a Paramedic and have seen this first hand many times.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Anchorage, AK
128 posts, read 274,000 times
Reputation: 113
Smile Driving in Anchorage Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by hatingthemidwest View Post
Currently drive a ford fusion. Looking to get a 4x4 suv. I have read that you don't really need a huge truck to get through the winter.

Should a 2014 ford explorer 4x4 with a v6 do just fine for handling the snow and ice? A bigger suv like the expedition, and chevy tahoe/suburban seem just too much for the anchorage/eagle river areas but then again we have never lived in AK.

Could anyone provide some insight?

Thanks
There are three important things to keep in mind when driving in Alaska:

1) High off the ground to maneuver around in the snow. Roads are plowed and the state is equipped to handle snowfall but there will be times when the road crew hasn't made it to your area OR if the road crew is plowing the road and you need to get over to the next lane it will be hard for you to merge. This is not a huge problem because you can follow a trail of another vehicle or just be late too work. When it does snow here, everything still stays open and you will be expected to come to work but people here are very relaxed and employers are very understanding when the weather is bad.

2) 4wheel drive, All wheel drive or Front wheel drive is recommended especially if you will be commuting on the Glenn Highway to work in Anchorage from Eagle River for example. This is mainly for minimizing slipping and slidding on the ice. Contrary to popular belief, it is better to drive on snow up here in Alaska because our snow is drier and less slippery because of the consistent low temps. For most of the winter season, we stay consistently cold so you do not have to worry about snow melting during the day and then freezing into slippery ice in the evening. Now this does change during our seasonal change as we approach spring which up here we call "break up". It's called break up for obvious reasons, the breaking up of the thick layer of ice that accumulated on the roadways and melting of snow. By the time break up is over it's summer unless we get lucky and get a heat wave.

3) This ties in with #2. It does not matter what size vehicle you have, if you are not careful and drive fast you will go off the road. I see more trucks and suv in the ditch on the Glenn Hwy than I see smaller vehicles. I think it is because they are not careful and the larger vehicles gives them a false sense of security.

Lastly, I recommend getting studded tires rather than all seasons if you will be commuting or doing a lot of driving. I have been commuting from Palmer out in the valley since 2005 on studs and been careful and have not had any accidents or close calls. I tried all season tires because of all the rave about all seasons, in the winter of 2012 and could tell a big difference in control. I will not do that again. Hope this was helpful!
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,305 posts, read 13,699,038 times
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Subaru all the time! I see more of the big 4 wheel drive pickups and Suvs upside down, on their side or in the ditch then I do Subaru's. After the first snowfall you'll see a lot them along the Glenn Highway. I think those big 4 wheel drives give people an extra boost confidence that is above their driving ability.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Anchorage Suburbanites and part time Willowbillies
1,708 posts, read 1,739,104 times
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I think it's because the Subarus are under the snow so you don't see them.

The few times I've almost went in the ditch with my large SUV is because someone in a mini car did something dumb and I had to take evasive action to avoid squishing them.

I will agree that a lot of those SUV drivers are out of control because they think they are superior drivers 'cause they are in a large SUV. They don't understand that the weight of the large SUV is not your friend when you have to quickly turn or stop on a slippery surface.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:38 AM
 
Location: interior Alaska
6,334 posts, read 4,876,770 times
Reputation: 21076
You want to have a 4WD or AWD vehicle, or failing that, front-wheel drive, and you want good winter tires and adequate winterization.

Beyond that it's more about how you drive than what you drive.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:56 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,596 times
Reputation: 10
If you buy a Ford Plan on it breaking ......Go Chevy or go home......me from Big Bear Lake , Ca. 7000 ft.elevation , I have a lifted Chevy Surburban that runs get up here.....!!
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:27 AM
 
1,314 posts, read 3,296,374 times
Reputation: 616
First off everything they have told you in this has been dead on .also I would tomadd this to there statements here .
Take your time do not start late and thickmyour going to make it up on the road by driving faster than the vehicle can handle the road.
Second if you are late just deal with the fact that you are late and make up by staying a little later during your work

I dove a small vehicle for two months in Fairbanks and did fine withnit on the roads up there .So it a lot about how and the style of your driving when younger there
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:01 AM
 
4,715 posts, read 9,890,049 times
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Hog - I agree with you in some respects. You can't change the law of physics. But I have seen my share of large SUVs vs. small cars (Mini Cooper) and the SUV lost. Mainly because they flip over or keep on going into the pole or building. And a couple of times where Motorcycle VS. SUV, the motorcyclist lived and the driver of the SUV did not. But that is an exception and not the statistical norm.

Now that smart car and Fiat scare me with how tiny they are.

FWIW, I've investigated over 1,000 accidents in my career. I can't even fathom a guess on how many accidents scenes I've been on. Usually they bigger vehicle does better, but not always. They do seem to be the only ones I see on their roof or side though. The bigger the vehicle usually handles emergency maneuvers worse too. In slick rain, bigger is better (sometimes) as more weight generally means more traction. Not sure on snow though.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:43 AM
 
1,662 posts, read 1,866,014 times
Reputation: 2441
Smart cars scare me too, and I'm in Arizona. I was surprised to see two cars like mine (Chevy Aveo) in Fairbanks and Fox. Though I'm a long way from relocating (if I ever can) I wonder about the car situation. Figure I'd want to get a used tried-and-true truck or something to give me a little higher profile and more room around me. Nothing new or fancy, just something solid.
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