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Why Are Jeeps So Wide?

The other day my dog and I were starting our descent from near treeline. We encountered a couple Jeep Wranglers coming up the mountain road. The Jeeps were barely inching forward, and rightly so: they were so wide that they barely fit on the alpine road.

At first I thought it was some kind of optical illusion. After all, it is just common sense to keep a "4WD" (four wheeler's) machine narrow so it can fit between boulders. 

But there is a simple historical explanation for this bit of motorsport silliness: back in the 1990s, when soccer moms started using Jeeps as daily drivers to their cubicle or grocery store, a few of them flipped over on freeway exits. Of course they did -- a narrow wheelbase and high center-of-gravity should do that. That is why you shouldn't take freeway exit ramps at 70 mph in this type of vehicle.

Then the media made a big deal about it, which brought in the safety regulators. So, today we have Jeeps as wide as full-size pickup trucks.

Is there a single modern trend in the automotive industry that isn't crazy?


Ed said…
Don't forget the 'Hummer' influence. The military Humvee was designed so that could follow the path of tanks so the wide wheel track. So the wider the Jeep the more it looks like a Hummer.

Probably the same kind of influence that Monster Trucks have had on those pickup with the BIG TIRES and lifted.
Unknown said…
Two needless apostrophes in a single sentence is almost as bad...
Good proofreading requires good internet connectivity, and I won't see any of that until I leave Crested Butte.