What kind of parent are you?
Here’s the top two questions I get from my non-Jeeper friends. “Is it legal?” “Is it safe?” Of course, these questions comes up when they see me carrying my kids in my Jeep with top down and doors off, literally naked. I know I have caused some to raise eyebrows with safety concerns and legality matter, but am I really putting my kids in danger by driving a naked Jeep? I beg to differ. I’d say not as much as you smoke around your kids, not as much as you drink around your kids, and not as much as you curse around your kids. In another words, don’t judge me. I will try to answer your question as logical as I can. 🙂
Is it legal?
The first question is really easy to answer. “Yes, it is legal!” I’m not sure about the other 49 states but over here in California, driving a Jeep without doors is legal as long as you have driver’s side mirror mounted somewhere, of which I can easily give you under $10 solution for that. See picture below. 😉
Is it safe?
The answer to the second question is the main topic of this post. Is it really safe to carry kids in a Jeep without doors? If you don’t get into an accident, yes, it is. When the doors come off, it is strictly local drive only for me. That is average of 45 mph drive navigating around small streets in town. When I have to go on Highway or Freeway with kids in my Jeep, I put the doors back on and windows up while the top remains down. Depending on the weather situation I can always put my soft top up any time, and I put hard top on during winter season to keep my kiddos warm and dry. Probably before you ask if it’s safe, you should ask me following question.
Are you a good driver?
I think so. I drove over 500,000 miles in the past 27 years of driving. During those times I’ve never caused any major accident accept couple of minor fender benders. I spun my car around on the freeway once due to worn out tires with no thread when I slammed on the brake at 70 mph when driving alone. There were handful of car around me, but I manage to walk out of it without hitting or hurting anyone. I rammed into the side rail and ended up with broken rear axle and rear bumper, but fortunately no one got hurt by it. I may not stop myself from being hit by a drunken driver someday, but I know what I’m capable of and will take full responsibility of my action.
Now then the question comes to a “what if” question. What if I get into an accident? I guess when you get into an accident and depending on how severe it is, it can seriously hurt you and hurt your occupants. My question is though, is that why we all drive Hummer because our safety always comes first? Is that why we all own Chevy Suburban or GMC Yucon? What about those people who drives Toyota Corolla or Prius? Furthermore, those people who drives Smart Car, are they SUICIDAL?
I’m not even going into the crash test comparison here. My blog is not about technical stuff. Recent Jeep Wrangler earned better than average in overall crash test respectively, and some recent model comes with side airbags. At least I can tell you that. The reason why it is legal to drive a Jeep without doors is that the door itself in a Jeep is not a “structural” element. It means the doors don’t add any structural rigidness to the frame. When someone ram into the side of your car at high speed, the chances are your body will be smashed against the metal anyway unless your car is equipped with side airbags. Whether you’re wearing seat belts properly or not will determine the outcome of the crash in my opinion. In the most extreme cases though your safety will be in jeopardy no matter what you drive.
This picture I found on Facebook doesn’t do justice at all. We don’t know what cause it or how it happened, but obviously something has gone terribly wrong.
Are you a psychic?
I’m not a psychic. I cannot foresee the future and know what tomorrow would bring, but I know one thing for sure that you’d never understand. My kids love riding my Jeep, even my 22 month old son, MJ, top down doors off any given day. When I roll up the garage door, the first thing he wants to do is to crawl up in my Jeep to play. When we go riding in our minivan, he points his finger to my Jeep parked next to it and cries. When I have to put the side window up, he cries screaming, “dow dow,” which means in his own words, “Put the windows down!” My daughter SunnyD always gets to sit on passenger side seat and begs me to take the door off. When his sister is not around and when the doors off, my son BigE always asks me if he can sit in the front seat. Take them to off-road is like taking them to an amusement park. A Jeep to us is means of living not just a transportation. So when you see me next time, ask me this question instead.
Is it fun?
Hell, sure it is. To tell you the truth, it may not be fun when it’s safe! No other car give you a freedom to go anywhere and to be one with a nature skin to skin like a Jeep, a naked Jeep that is.