Dodge Caliber Forums banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well folks, I just had the most harrowing night ever with my caliber last night. Let the story begin.

I was on holidays with my fiance up in kelowna british columbia. We headed out thursday eve (5pm) with a full tank of gas and dreams of heading back home to calgary alberta. The road was a long and stormy one.. rain and heavy winds prevailed on our course, but the caliber remained rock solid. 3 hours into our journey the first omen reared it's ugly head.. While traversing rogers pass (a high mountain road) a semi trailer had jacknifed and spilled it's contents onto the highway causing a 1 hour delay.

9pm; We clear the wreckage and head along onto our interim destination of golden british columbia, rain thrashing constantly. 10:00pm we arrive in golden with 400km to go and a half tank of gas and have a quick bite to eat hearing tales of a severe snowstorm in the banff area (in wich we are having to head right through on our way home). We head out of golden into another mountain pass where we are greeted with torrential rainfall and blinding fog, visibility is between 30-100feet infront of the vehicle.

11:15 pm upon reaching field b.c. and about 250km away from home the rainfall turns to snow.. the temperatures drop quickly to -5c and visibility drops to about 15 feet infront of the vehicle.. highbeams are useless as the driving snow renders them inuseable and the lowbeams/fogs provide much clearer visibility. Tired as hell I ask my fiance if we should stop in lake louise (45km ahead) for the night and wait out the storm to wich she agrees. The heavy snowstorm had caused all the power in western alberta to go dead so we end up missing the turn off to lake louise without knowing it.

12:00am friday; with the wet snow piling up about 6 inches on the highway and visibility at about 10 feet infront of the vehicle seeing a sign stating that we were only 170km's away from home I decided that we push on our course and try to make it home. 12:45am; We near the town of banff alberta wich is completely dark for the first time in my life... snow has accumulated to almost a foot in depth on the highway, semi's are pulled off on the side of the road and visibility remains about 5-10 feet infront of the car (you could almost not even see the edges of the highway as you were driving down it).. The car started buffeting tremendously as the lower skirt plowed through the snow causing a wake of snow to rise almost 20 feet into the air on either side of the cali. Slowly as I am trying to keep the car out of the ditch it dawns on me.. we only have a quarter tank of gas left and home is about 120km away.. The town of canmore looms somewhere in the distance about 20 kms away, with the hopes of a gas station to fill up at.

12:45am The caliber sinks into a deep rut throwing me wildly to the left, I compensate by braking and steering right, but because of the slick snowy conditions I begin an inevitable slide... I thrust the car right... the ditch looms ahead perilously, I steer left and the car pulls me along to the left away from the ditch but out of control.. I steer right again as I cross 3 lanes of highway with the cali in a 45 degree slide, due to overtiredness (I had already been driving through 6 hours of complete hell, in darkness) and a lack of situational awareness I crank the wheel left and the car gives, throwing me into a 360 degree spin out of control, the barrier on the side of the road looms ominously as we slide uncontrollably towards it.. I slam on the brakes and can feel the abs pumping as we slide towards the barrier.. amazingly the car stops short about 5" away from the barrier and I hop out of the car.. my fiance trembling in fear.. I pop the rear hatch and pull the flashlight from it, and inspect the car for damage.. to wich amazingly there is none. I climb back into the car and right it, and we continue on towards canmore hoping for a gas station.

1:30am; With the snowfall reaching a foot in depth and visibility almost zero we reach canmore only to find that the entire town is shut down and there is no gas to be had. 100km away from home and a quarter tank of gas in the tank I turn to my fiance and ask.. do you want to wait here or try to make it home, to wich she tells me she just wants to go home, so we head out again. We pull out of town and notice a jacknifed semi on the other side of the highway but press on. The roads were a thick layer of ice and snow, the cali grunted and creaked as it was getting slammed and almost bogged down by the immense layer of wet snow that was on the roads.. feedback on the steering wheel was immense but somehow I was able to steer my way through it, thought she pulled and slid a little bit I was much more aware of how to deal with the situation after our "death slide" some km's back. Then the inevitable happened, what looked like 3 semi's had jacknifed and collided with one another causing the entire highway to be shut down.

79km's from home and the low fuel light on for about 15 mins, me bieng dead tired.. we decided to admit defeat for the night and pulled off the road and attempted to sleep while the accident was cleared up.. the time was roughly 2:45am.

I awoke around 5:30am friday morning to find the accident cleared up, but the roads remained rather slick and snowy... with the needle on empty I decided to make the last stand and hope that the cali would make it to the gas station roughly 20km's outside the city. Running on minimal lighting the car sputtered to the gas station and I was able to fill up.. we then travelled the rest of the way home in the rain (the snow had not reached the calgary area yet) and passed out in our comfortable bed. In my years of driving I have never before seen a snowstorm of that magnitude (a foot; 12" of wet snow dropped within 3 hours) the visibility was next to zero, but somehow, despite the one instance where I lost control of the cali, she handled the adverse conditions like a true champion.. I saw numerous 4x4's in the ditch along with alot of light cars and also 18 wheelers in the ditch also while I was on the way home. I attribute our survival in the caliber due to it's overzelous wieght, large rims/tires and generous ground clearance. I now have supreme respect for my caliber and the way it was built after this ordeal and I have almost no qualms by saying if I was travelling in a lesser vehicle that we may have not made it home at all. I hope you all have somewhat enjoyed the read I have typed out, as it was a complete nightmare for myself and for my fiance.. and that the caliber is more then ready for adverse conditions that may crop up when driving her..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
And all that with front wheel drive only. Makes me feel alot more confident about winter driving in the car, and having AWD should only make it even more stable. Thanks for the testimonial!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey no problem.. I figured that others would like to hear the story. See the funny thing is.. as I was driving down the snowy roads I was thinking to myself that I shoulda droppped the extra 2 grand and got the r/t with the AWD and that it probably would have made my life easier on that trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
I've had very similar experiences on Rogers & the Kicking Horse pass. Crazy through there sometimes boy. That is an impressive story considering you were driving your Caliber through there in those conditions, I know how truly insane it can be through there in the winter. I was always driving a 4x4. I used to take the #1 route to Vancouver Island quite often. I've started using the #3 more now. That sucks it's already that bad, my wife & I were planning on heading to the lower mainland soon, BEFORE ( LOL ) it get's too brutal.

Thanks for taking the time to tyoe that out. You weren't expecting that I bet, a little early.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Wow, tough time. Glad all ended so well. And thanks for sharing. Mia
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,055 Posts
Good to hear you made it through without injury and or wreck. Sounds crazy!!!

Good to hear the Caliber peformed so well. The best performing front-wheel-drive car I've ever owned/driven was my 89 Dodge Omni (oddly enough). I'm hoping that the Caliber was put together the same way where it handles well in snow and on ice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
had the car been a rear wheel drive like the charger, forget about it!

glad to hear about your rugged experiance, and that you came out on top. imagine AWD with BAS, ABS, and ESP!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
haha, i was wondering how long it was going to take.

parents came out to visit, stayed at a days inn, and dad took the pic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Trythisonforsize said:
haha, i was wondering how long it was going to take.

parents came out to visit, stayed at a days inn, and dad took the pic.
That's your story? J/K

Sorry, back on topic....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Glad all three of you are OK ;-)

Thanks for the story. If you had the AWD, you may have run out of fuel since it uses a bit more than your SXT. My low fuel light comes on when there are two US gallons left. One trip, I filled up and my Caliber took 13 gallons and the fuel gauge was below the empty marker.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sherdog said:
That sucks it's already that bad, my wife & I were planning on heading to the lower mainland soon, BEFORE ( LOL ) it get's too brutal.
Well it was a freak storm and I hear that by next week the weather in them parts will be back up to the usual late summer/early fall conditions.. just curoius why you don't take the coquihalla highway to vancouver instead of the trans canada?.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
414 Posts
Did you change the tires? I have been waiting to hear how the POS Firehawks are in real driving conditions.

It is hard to justify changing them right now, since they are brand new.

Although the Continental Conti's are looking like they really need to be bought. I hear my Caliber in my sleep whispering that to me alot lately.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No still using the stock firestone affinity tires that came with the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
614 Posts
Good snow tires wll make a world of difference. You were able to maintain some traction in your experience with the stock tires. If you had lost traction completely it would have been game over and you would have been waiting on recovery:( The fact you could keep moving bodes really well for those that put on snowies.

I am going to wait for the first snow here to see how the AWD system performs with the stocks. The AWD will require snowies on all four rather than front only. Good to hear you noticed and perhaps were saved by the antilock system. Yours is the first account of this in snow.

You were lucky in many ways. Hooray for the Cali. It got you home where others were not so fortunate. Only other thing to add is you should have topped up the tank at any opportunity instead of pushing on and risking running out of fuel.

Very happy you made it safely without injury or damage:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
I'll be watching this thread quite intently this winter also, and adding any experiences I have with my R/T and the stock tires, on my trips to Montana. This gives me a renewed excitement for my car, after all the recent negative car reviews and threads. Now to just get the car.... lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
12am said:
Well it was a freak storm and I hear that by next week the weather in them parts will be back up to the usual late summer/early fall conditions.. just curoius why you don't take the coquihalla highway to vancouver instead of the trans canada?.
Only because of the time of the year. I do hit the Coquihalla when I take the #1.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top