Vehicles in Lost Alpha are a way of travelling between areas more quickly than on foot. Vehicles can be obtained either by finding them, or purchasing them at select locations; see Barkeep at The 100 Rads Bar and when he relocates to the New 100 Rads Bar in the Outskirts.
There are several vehicles available for use, which are listed below.
The Moskvich is pretty nippy and has good road holding and fuel economy, but will quickly take damage from gunfire or aggressive anomalies, Witches' Jelly notably; whereas a UAZ Jeep is more sedate, thirstier, goes well off-road and through minor wetland areas and is more resistant to gunfire.
Damaged vehicles emit notable amounts of "smoke" particles to indicate to the player that they are in imminent danger of expiring (also taking any stashed loot with them)
The player has a variety of options at this stage:
Do nothing, and risk the loss of everything. (Followed by a reload)
Jump out, and run off to draw hostile fire away from the vehicle.
Jump out, run to the back and 'repair' the vehicle, before jumping back into it.
Evasive action - in combination with any variety of the above tactics.
Road rage - similarly combined and taking the following point into account.
Collision with another object may also result in damage to the vehicle.
Abrupt collision with a fixed object (tree, telephone pole, building, electricity pylon, etc.) causes a lot of damage; depending on momentum, some vehicles might survive this, others will explode (your very first Lada Niva Hospital Service has this tendency.
Whatever the vehicle, the player may choose a potential route over terrain that results in rolling the vehicle.
In most cases, a half-roll is usually the end of the vehicle. A full-roll will probably damage it - but not the player's actor) and necessitate repairs.
It is possible to transition to a Level, only to roll back into the transition point. Remedy - start immediately and drive forward a bit.
Unattended vehicles may roll down hills and either vanish into transitions or anomalies. Remedy - park against a fixed object (gently)
Unattended vehicles may be the victim of 'mutant rushes', notably in Radar. Remedy - park off-road in a safer location.
Some physics behaviour allows exploitation of the game territory (see Notes below)
Vehicles may also be employed to enter anomalies and reach the parts of Lost Alpha that may not be otherwise reached.
Specifically, Whirligigs will elevate the car (and player within) to pretty impressive heights, with the result that a landing "out-of-bounds" is possible outside of the normal map confines. This works well with the anomaly on the road from Rostok to Warehouses in Great Metal Factory.
In this instance it is possible to drive back onto the map proper (assuming that the landing was right side up) or explore some of the 'Badlands'.
For obvious reasons, the player may not perform this exploit by walking into the anomaly without the vehicle.
The relative 'drops' for some of these 'anomaly rides' appear to exceed 30 meters and leave vehicles (Moskvich and UAZ Jeep) relatively undamaged. This may be an indication of how distorted from reality X-ray engine physics really is.
Some Level transitions are impassable with a vehicle (Yantar to Rostok north) and should be avoided, others deposit the player and vehicle backwards in the new Level (CNPP to Radar). For the first example: avoid, the second: reverse into Radar. Note: Driving a UAZ Jeep south from Yantar to the north Rostok transition, will place the jeeps front (south) end on the grass and the rear (north) end on the porch/balcony of the building and it can be driven out. UAZ Jeep going Northbound from Rostok to Yantar the transition point can not be reached as it in trigger point is on a porch/balcony and can not be reached to trigger the transition. Driving the Jeep from the north transition point on the west side of Dark Valley to the Garbage include a maze like drive through the much radiated Vehicle Graveyard.