Late one night I was driving home from a 12 hour shift from work to my house in Midland. I was tired, but my pockets heavy with tips. My trip was about 20 minutes and required me to travel on Highway 400 and Highway 12. Highway 400 runs from Toronto to Parry Sound and has 4 lanes with exits with huge overpasses, etc. Highway 12 is smaller with only 2 lanes and if you want off, you just turn. I started our on Highway 400 at my usual 110 km/hour.
Shortly after departure, the car started making a weird noise – kind of like a grocery cart with a wonky wheel. I slowed a bit, but other than the noise, all seemed okay.
I hate to contribute to the cliché of females being car ignorant, but unfortunately I must admit I am not particularly car knowledgable. I own a 2007 Honda Fit with standard transmission – good on gas and fun to drive. I am a pretty good driver, I like to drive and I like to drive fast. Emile taught me the four strokes (intake, compression, um .. . power, and exhaust) against my protests. I know enough – keep it filled with gas, oil and wiper fluid; how to change a tire (thanks mom and Emile) and that when it starts making weird noises, listen.
I pulled over to the side of the road to examine the tires. All four were fully inflated, no sticks in the wheel well, nothing looking out of the ordinary. Hmmm. Well, carry on then. I called Emile to get him to listen to the noise over the cell phone. Shockingly, he could not identify it. He told me to come on home, but to drive a little more slowly. By then I was on Highway 12, so I slowed and counted the minutes until I would get home.
Well, I should have pulled over. I should have listened to my gut. Because soon after the call, my front driver’s side wheel came off, leaving me to drive my car with only 3 wheels. I am pretty proud of how well I drove that night to get the vehicle back under control and quickly to the side of the road. Nobody was hurt, people stopped to help me and we even were able to find the seemingly perfect wheel in the tall grass.
You all know the rest of the story: call home, call a tow truck, insurance claim, lengthy repairs, police investigation (as there was no physical reason that could be found as to why my wheel come off, they suspected mischief), etc. I am thankful I had come of Highway 400, I had slowed down and that the wheel didn’t cause any injury to any other vehicle on the road.
Today I went for a run. I tend to take my car to drive to a starting point because our street has lots of speedy traffic and limited shoulders. I parked, hid my keys and headed out. 2 km out, 2 km back (record pace again!). As I rounded the last bend, I noticed I’d left my lights on. No matter, I can now run 4 km in 23 minutes. Surely my battery can handle that. No, apparently not. I was a 3 minute walk from home, but what a pain. Sigh.
I called Emile to confirm it was the battery (not the alternator, starter, etc) based on the noises when I turned the key (the guy really needs to get better at cell phone diagnosis). He told me to turn everything off and let the battery rest. Let the battery rest? What kind of stupid advice is that? Seriously man – the battery is just going to spontaneously re-energize? Well, I guess I’ll call a friend for a boost. Thanks a lot. Honestly, like I’ll just sit here for 3 minutes and then miraculously turn the key and the car will start. . . Oh. Well. . . look at that.
June 8th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Batteries apparently need rest. Emile’s advice is pretty sound.