When my Dodge Ram hits your Prius?
Heh, sorry about the inflammatory title but I've got a case of Prius fever and need some advice. I have a 98 Dodge Ram 1500, 2WD, 5.7L V8 extended cab and am enjoying an average of 14.5mpg. I like the truck but mostly it's just me, a dog, and a bicycle so it's *just a little* more vehicle than I need. It has 145,000 miles and is running perfectly.
I've become a regular NPR listener, a vegetarian, and now I'm thinking "Gee, I am sick and tired of giving unfriendly countries money for oil" and "I'm not a big fan of "big oil" either". (actually, I've even switched from skiing to snowboarding but that's another thread). So I'm thinking about reducing my oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (all in one "swoop")
Money is not a huge problem, I don't mind spending 60$ to fill up, I don't mind driving my truck longer, but I also can afford to buy a new vehicle. But I need some value...I guess I'm frugal at heart.
So I've talked this over with my wife and she said "you're not driving a little deathtrap like that, take my Suburban and I'll buy another one." Now it's an 02, 4WD, in perfect mint condition so that wouldn't be too bad really....
I'm a defensive driver, been called a "granny" more than once, never had an accident (I'm 38). But people get killed driving every day and if it's just a matter of dealing with 14mpg to improve my odds, I don't have a huge problem with that.
So my question is, do you guys feel any less safe in a Prius than a giant SUV? Is this a rational fear? Or maybe it is a small increase in risk but worth it. I sure like the idea of 45 mpg....that's 3X what I'm getting now.
Thanks for the advice in advance :)
Personal Experience: Prius vs. Pickup
The Prius lost—it was totalled—but its three occupants were fine. What happened was the truck (an F250) stopped suddenly in the middle of the road to avoid one of those big orange construction barrels and the Prius rear-ended it, striking only the trailer hitch. The Prius driver (my 16-year-old) thought the truck was just slowing down, not slamming on the brakes, and did not begin braking soon enough. The truck driver (someone else's 16-year-old) was unhurt, too.
The anti-lock brakes must have done their job, because there were no tire marks on the road, either from the truck or the Prius.
The insurance appraiser showed me what was damaged and why none of the airbags went off. The frame behind the bumper was not crumpled, which is what triggers the airbags. The hitch is a solid piece of steel that bent the hood back, broke the bumper, and hooked onto the wiring harness. It also broke the intake manifold into pieces and crushed the condenser coils. There was damage to the radiator and fan assembly as well. It was only after those parts were removed that the worst damage came to light: a hairline crack in the engine block.
Weirdly, the headlights were intact. Oh yeah, and only the top part of the bra was torn.
After something like that, I feel pretty confident in the car's safety. If the kid had been paying better attention (and not following so closely), the accident could most likely have been avoided entirely.