MY RIDE- Helaine Valldejuli 1998 Volvo V70 Wagon

Safety was Helaine Valldejuli's first priority when she purchased her 1998 Volvo V70 wagon last April, right after she and her seven-year-old daughter were in a car accident. The car was badly damaged, but they walked away without a scratch.

"I was driving a Volvo at the time, and it made us feel safe and protected," she says. That fact helped her decide to buy another.

"I love that it's used," she says of her eight-year-old wagon. "I know I got a fair deal and that it's a good car."

Although the ride was previously owned, Valldejuli has made it her own. She's added a couple of stickers to personalize the white exterior, including one of various colored figures dancing, which she says promotes diversity.

"I live out in Fluvanna," she says. "I try to carpool into town except when I'm trying to meet a deadline."

When she does drive the 20 minutes into Charlottesville to work, she enjoys the comfortable ride.

"Besides safety, my favorite part of the car is that it's really smooth," she says.

The only downside about her new wagon is gas: "It has a big 18-gallon tank."

No doubt the carpool helps ease the pain at the pump.

What drives you? Call 295-8700 ext. 239, then pull up in front of Hook headquarters at 100 Second St. NW, and tell us why you love your ride. Each week's featured driver will receive a free car wash courtesy of H&H Quality Car Care.