The Mighty Jeep – A Short History

The Mighty Jeep – A Short History

The Mighty Jeep – A Short History

It started out as an Army vehicle in the early 1940’s, and the first civilian model came out in 1945.  Since then, the Jeep has inspired fierce loyalty and admiration in the automotive community.  What makes this vehicle so great, and why do people love it so much?

Despite its illustrious military history, the Jeep we all know and love today can be a family vehicle, a recreation vehicle, or just a run-around-town vehicle.  There are still some misconceptions about the Jeep, given it’s origins and the  combination of a high center of gravity and a short wheel base, so some people think Jeeps are not safe.

Jeep Rolled Over

It’s true that in the early days of the Jeep, they were not terribly safe to drive.  They were used for farming purposes and off-road purposes, and that short wheel base and high center of gravity made for a number of rolled-over Jeeps.  People who knew the limitations of the Jeep and how to handle it properly generally avoided trouble.  But, because the Jeep had a a military history, because they are so tough-looking and attractive, more and more people who did not understand their limitations wanted to drive them.  More accidents happened.  So, Jeep got smart and added rollbars, suspension upgrades, and out of the old days of the Jeep CJ, a newer, safer Jeep – The Wrangler – was introduced in 1986.

This did not mean that it was impossible to turn over a Jeep Wrangler.  Yes, the threat had been reduced a bit, but there was still room for user error.

Over the years, Jeep manufacturers have made the vehicle safer and safer.  Jeeps today feature sturdy roll cages and roll bars, padding, air bags, better restraints, and better tires.  It is still possible to roll a Jeep over, if you don’t know what you’re doing, but if you’re driving safely and cautiously (as you always should) your risk is minimum.

Here are some tips to keeping your Jeep upright on a regular road:

1.  Don’t speed.  Don’t speed when it’s sunny outside.  Don’t speed in the rain.  Don’t speed in the snow, sleet, hail, or any other kind of weather.  Jeeps are not meant to be driven at high speeds.

2. If you have an older Jeep, NEVER slam on your brakes.  Older Jeeps don’t have the anti-lock brake systems that today’s Jeeps have.  Even with a newer Jeep, be gentle on the brakes, especially in bad weather.

3. Avoid sharp, fast turns.  If the turn is sharp, slow your speed.  Fast, sharp turns of the wheel are responsible for many rollovers.

Above all, use your head and drive like you have a brain.  A Jeep can be a fabulous vehicle that you can happily drive for a long time.  Just take it slow out there!

Lawrence Reaves writes about cars, health, family, pets, and more, and thinks the bumper sticker on the picture above is hilarious.

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