Summer is my favorite time of year. I have great memories of summer breaks from school and family road trips. I remember when I turned 16 and got my driver’s license! My family and I went to Florida to see my grandmother and spent time on the beach. We enjoyed the Florida sunshine, and then started back on our 17-hour trip home. After we stopped to eat, my father handed me the keys to our family car. He told me it was my turn to drive! I remember thinking, “Really, you want me to drive on I-75?” My dad has been both a sheriff’s deputy and a truck driver and I knew this was going to be “summer school” for me.
For anyone not familiar with I-75, it is a divided highway that has several lanes of traffic, and vehicles travel at many different speeds. I remember being in the far left lane when I heard a loud BANG! The car started to pull to the left. We had blown our rear tire!
Here are the important tips my dad shared with me:
- Stay calm (this was the toughest one for me!)
- Don’t brake (braking can cause your wheels to lock up and end up in a total loss of control).
- Let the car slow down gradually.
- Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
- Turn on the four-way flashers.
- Move to the right side of the road and pull over once the car has slowed down enough.
Everything seemed to happen so quickly, but somehow I managed to cross several lanes of traffic and get the car safely off the highway. Now that was not a lesson I was expecting to learn!
I remember being scared about how fast the vehicles were screaming by. We had unloaded all of our luggage into the grass to get to the spare tire when a wonderful Good Samaritan pulled over. He quickly got our tire changed and we were back on the road. I am so thankful for my dad’s advice, the man that helped us, and my guardian angel!
If you find yourself with a disabled vehicle, I recommend you call for professional help right away. Being outside of the vehicle can be a very dangerous place to be, especially considering other drivers are not expecting that. Did you know some auto insurance companies offer Roadside Assistance when you need a tire changed, a tow, or even if you run out of gas? It usually doesn’t cost much, but it is great peace of mind to know that help is only a phone call away! Before you take to the road, I recommend you check with your independent insurance agent to see if you have this important coverage. Please be safe, and enjoy your summer!