Riding in Cars

The other week my mom and I were discussing one of the more volatile controversies that continually divides this country. Yes, I’m talking about two-door vs. four-door cars. Who cares how we got on the subject? The question brought before the panel (me, I’m the panel) was why is insurance higher for two-door cars. Before I know it I’m explaining to her that insurance rates are lower for people who own four-door cars because the insurance companies tend to think that the people who own them are more family oriented, less inclined to take risks (like drag racing with friends, taking dares on the number of donuts they can do in parking lots, or driving every day like they’re the getaway car from a massive bank robbery and the entire Sheriff’s office is on their tail), and overall just safer. Two-door car owners are more reckless, at least in the insurance company’s eyes, and, hence, more likely to get into an accident, so they get the higher premium.

My Mom interjected that despite the higher priced premium, she always insisted that our family have a two-door car when my brother and I were growing up. I will take a small detour here (ha! pun intended!) to say that you could not find a more stable, down-to-earth, no-risk-taker, family oriented kind of gal than my mother. But the inflated premium was worth it to her, or so she said.

I personally couldn’t understand why she opted for the two-door car. It seems so logical to me to upgrade to four doors when there are kids involved. I mean, it’s easier to get them in and out of the back seat in general, easier to buckle them into the car seats when they’re small, and we didn’t have to deal with that awkward climb into and out of the car over the folded down seat (with elbows to the head of whoever is in the front seat). It just seemed practical.

Then my mom explained her point of view. First of all, car seat? Ha! Not part of the equation back in those days. Yeah, okay, that makes sense. Second, only having two doors meant that there was no chance my brother and I could throw each other out of the car. Third, having only two doors meant we couldn’t carry through any brilliant ideas of jumping out of the car ourselves. That reasons 2 and 3 were likely scenarios to pop up in my mother’s head sort of sums up my childhood.

Looking back, I can easily envision both of those hilarious tragic events happening if we had the luxury of back seat doors. My brother and I were basically a live-action version of Spy vs. Spy. Take our constant battling, stuff it in a confined metal cage for a few hours, hurl it down a highway at 60 miles per hour, and one way or another one of us would find a reason to pop open that back door to show the other one the exit. Unfortunately, I mean, luckily, yes, luckily, my mom could imagine this too and preemptively put an end to that.

Each summer my father, with the whole family in tow, would navigate over the precarious road that led to my grandparents’ house. Well, this road, barely wide enough for a vehicle, ran snugly along the tall mountain on one side and on the other side was nothing but air. I’ve brought this up before…how my brother and I tried to drive my mother insane by jumping up and down on one side of the car trying to make it flip over the edge. If we had a four-door car for these treks! Oh my goodness how things would’ve changed!

I can see my brother now, swinging from the car door, legs dangling wildly in mid-air, hanging on for dear life. My parents would look back and wonder: did he jump out thinking he could fly? Did he think he could hop from the car onto the branch of a passing tree? Then, they’d look over to the other side of the back seat, where little ol’ Wendy—with her angelic doe eyes and impossibly cute grin—is sitting peaceful as a fawn, and they’d wonder to this day if something more menacing had happened to send my brother flapping in the breeze. I mean, really…who’s to say? Knowing us, it could’ve gone either way. Either scenario is equally plausible, but thankfully no one will ever know.

All because my mother had the supreme forethought to buy a two-door car.  You’d think the insurance company would’ve given her a discount for her smart car choices given the money she surely saved them, but no. I guarantee you though, had they known her little bundles of joy, they would have.

14 thoughts on “Riding in Cars

  1. We always had two doors, when we had the kids, as well. We had two-doors (sports cars) up until I we went to Jeeps. I thought the rates were cheaper for 4 doors because if there was an accident people could get out. Really, that’s what I thought. you can escape. Two-doors, not so much.

    • That may be part of it. There are so many things that go into risk analysis. I like Jeeps (the old style, soft top!) but back in the day when I was looking at them the insurance rates on THOSE were high. Go figure.

  2. Car Park damage and insurance claims. My Dad would never park next to a two door car on the simple basis that the door is wider and more likely to hit a car parked next to it when it is opened. He would also not park next to a car with child seats in the back because he thought parents were distracted when strapping children in and would let their doors carelessly.swing back. It used to take my Dad a long time to park his car!

  3. I can’t believe no one (especially no one following this blog) has yet asked the OBVIOUS question:

    Why do chicken coops have two doors?

    As for me, as the oldest kid in a LARGE family, I have only vague memories of anything other than station wagons. What was really, REALLY cool was when we got one where the rear door swung out on side hinges like a regular side car door *OR* it could swing down like a regular station wagon door!

    Thrills are cheap and you take ’em where you can find ’em in a big family.

    • New-fangled chicken coops with two doors might be all the rage now…but the coops I remember as a kid only had one, or at least the ones my grandparents had. Back then, I guess the two door coops were for the rich, fancy set. LOL

      Did you all fight over who got to sit in the very back of the station wagon — the bit that was up against the back door so you could hang over the side if the window was down? Talk about an easy way to just “lose” a sibling.

      • *cackles as he sees that she’s fallen into the trap*

        Chicken coops have two doors because if they had four doors they would be chicken sedans!

        Even worse than the station wagon seating was one of the first trips I remember, when there were only three or four of us. We had a big old something or the other four-door, and my dad took the back rest cushion out, which meant we could just crawl into the trunk. We would have a couple kids in there, but we fought over being able to be up on the back window sill ABOVE the trunk.

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