Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Have you checked your tires lately?

Well, the long and short of it is I hadn't about two weeks ago, and so one of my tires decided to "check out" on its own.

At the time, I had a child in the car with me, and we had just recently entered a really busy highway. Suddenly, I heard a strange noise, (although I have had a flat tire before, I always discovered that I had a flat while the car was stationary, so this was a new experience for me) and thought/did the following:

1. Turned off the radio, and thought, "Is that my car?"

2. Thought (very) briefly that it might be the wind, since I had increased speed, but even though it does get windy in Idaho, it doesn't get that windy.

3. Checked the dashboard, thinking that something was wrong with the innards of the car, since the sound was coming from that direction. There was nothing wrong.

4. Started to smell burning rubber, and immediately started to look for a place to pull off the road. Unfortunately, at that point of the highway in question, there really is no place to pull off the road, and it was right before an exit ramp. There is a white line that indicates the edge of the road, but after that there is very little concrete, and a lot of hill sloping immediately downward. So not a lot of options, considering the above-mentioned exit ramp coming up.

5. Pulled off the road, as close to the edge as possible, put on the hazard lights, and called my husband, who was, fortunately, not very far away. Then I, and the child accompanying me, exited on the hill side of the car, and waited. I figured if one of the many cars passing by bumped into the car, we wouldn't want to be anywhere in or around it.

Ok, I am the first to admit that I should definitely know how to change my own tire, but I don't, even though I have been shown how before. Thing is, in this particular situation, I wouldn't have changed the tire even if I had known how--I was unwilling to even go around the side of the car and see the extent of the damage done, due to the location I was in and the amount of traffic going by.

Then, YAY, an Idaho state trooper stopped behind me. I was impressed by how much this state trooper helped us, though I never knew his name.

He came up and I told him what had happened, and that my husband was on the way. He asked if my husband was in town, and then said, "Is that him?" and yes. Yes, it was. He was backing up to my car.

My husband proceeded to work on the tire, and the state trooper moved his car out so that anyone coming toward our car would have to go around him. Then he got out and helped my husband, and they were done in like, no time flat. No pun intended.

The state trooper then asked how long I had been waiting before he showed up, and I said, "Oh, five to seven minutes." He then said that they try to patrol the roads so that no one has to wait long for help, but sometimes in the more isolated areas it takes a lot longer. He was very nice, and didn't have to help my husband, but I am so grateful that he did. It was a dangerous spot, and he made it a lot safer. He also went above and beyond the call of duty. He deserves more than a YAY!, but perhaps and maybe he will see this post and know how much we appreciate his help.

Soooo, turns out that it was the tread on the tires that was bad that caused this unfortunate situation. Now we have a good tire in place, but I feel that I was blessed in many ways when this happened to me:

1. There was no snow on the ground at the time, just as there is no snow on the ground in this area as I write this. When I think about how slick the roads can get around here, and try to imagine what slick roads + flat blown out tire + no place to turn off to speak of when there is good (but windy) weather, well, it doesn't add up to anything good.

2. I had someone to call that could help me, and if my husband had been farther away, the state trooper was there quickly, and as mentioned, he made it a lot safer by locating his car to minimize the chances of an accident as the tire was changed.

3. We had a good tire, (not a donut) as the spare, so I didn't have to worry about the spare blowing up on my way home. Which is where I went immediately, and was not late for something I had to be home for. (Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about "donuts" so the likelihood of one blowing out on my way home is not something I know a lot about. However, I did feel better that I had a regular tire as a replacement.)

So, I reiterate, have you checked your tires lately? I am surprised that we haven't had more snow yet, at least in this part of Idaho, but it does give us more of a chance to check (and if necessary) improve our situation before the roads get slick...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

Wanted to express my gratitude to those who have served and sacrificed for our country in the armed forces-- I could never say it enough, and will never forget it. Thank you for your service.