2-lane 70mph rural roads


Yellowstone mom

We just ordered a 2004 Sienna which will arrive in 100 days. This past week, our '95 Windstar died--leaving us w/o a car until the Sienna arrives. Ultimately, we'd like to have 2 vehicles.

Here is our dilemma: We live in Yellowstone N.P. where our only road in/out is a 2-lane 70mph speed limit road (60miles long) where tourists, RV's, delivery trucks, and local-rancher-large pickup trucks are all passing one another on curves, hills and double-yellow lines. We'd like to look at AWD wagons (like a Subaru Forester/Outback) as a 2nd vehicle, but we worry that getting hit head on by these larger vehicles will be fatal - - since we'd be lower to the ground in a smaller vehicle than our (soon-to-come) Sienna. QUESTION: Wouldn't mass and height matter on a road like this? (Our 7-yr old would sit in the back middle seat-- where we hope the combination of side air bags and low rollover potential will keep her safe.)


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
Seems like a good compromise-

Mass does help in any crash, to a point. According to the IIHS that point tends to be around 4000 pounds or so.

Personally, I would prefer to be in a vehicle built on a crushable car chassis like a minivan, since stiff truck frames tend to transfer more energy to the occupants. The lower rollover risk and better handling are also important. If you are hit head on by a very large vehicle, it may be unsurvivable regardless of what you are driving:-(

We have a minivan and an AWD Outback wagon and I feel both are very safe overall.

Yellowstone mom

Thanks for your quick reply. We have been pouring through the safety info on the iternet and your site has been the most helpful!

Here's another related question. Our '95 Windstar can have the engine rebuilt, which seems cheaper than buying another new vehicle (our new Sienna has been ordered).

We bought the '95 Windstar because, at the time, it was one of the first dual airbag vehicles around. But do these airbags get old and less effective? We hate to rebuild the engine if the airbags aren't going to protect us.


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member

I do not have any data on the effectiveness of airbags as they age. I don't expect there would be a problem just due to aging. On the other hand, newer airbag designs are safer than old ones.

Is your repair under warranty? Ford extended the warranty on 1995 Windstars to 7 years and 100,000 miles because of a head gasket problem for the 3.8L models. See:


I hope that saves you some cash if your Windstar is in that group and if by chance you are still within the extended warranty limits.

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