Gather round. I’m going to tell you a story about why you shouldn’t ignore your dash lights and should always have AAA. What’s that? You already know not to ignore your dash lights? Common knowledge, you say? Oh. Well, gather around anyway and laugh
at with me.
My tire light came on the dash in my Honda HRV on the way home from St. Augustine back in June. I’d just dropped my daughter off at Flagler College for the week. She did summer programs for high school students at three different Florida colleges. St. Augustine is about three hours from home. I noticed the light right away, but decided it was nothing.
Drove around town all week.
“Let’s get your tires checked out,” my friend Amy said when she got in my car that week.
“Nah, I’m due for an oil change. They’ll check them then.”
(She’d also like it known she told me WaWa offers free air.)
I drove back to St. Augustine to pick up baby girl a week later.
Three hours each way.
Drove her to St. Petersburg to attend a camp at Eckerd College the next day.
Another three hours each way.
Drove around all that week.
Didn’t get an oil change.
Tires seemed fine to me.
Her dad picked her up from Eckerd. I continued ignoring the light. In fact, I forgot it even existed.
Then I had to leave my beautiful rental for the month of July. It’s a VRBO property I snagged from April through the end of September, but I knew going into it I had to vacate for July.
I started the month at my friend’s amazing loft in Orlando. (Yes, the one I got locked out of with the oven on.)
Orlando is a two hour drive. I was on the highway, about 30 minutes from his place when I heard a loud noise and the steering wheel jerked out of my control for a scary second. I was able to safely get myself to the median. I got out to check out the damage.
The tire was gone.
I immediately called AAA.
They said someone would be there within 2 hours.
That was with the priority status they give to people on the highway.
I texted my friend and told him I’d be late and no, I didn’t need him to come. He’d just gotten off a plane and it was his birthday. I wanted him to go about his day while I did penance in the median for ignoring my tire light.
I called Amy and told her what happened.
“You didn’t get that checked? You didn’t get your oil changed?”
No, no I didn’t.
I kept the car running because it was July in Florida and approximately 8,000 degrees.
I listened to Dax Shepard‘s podcast, Armchair Expert. I snacked on grapefruit seltzer, pistachios and O-love olives I had in the car for my month of nomadic travel. I played around on Facebook, kept my inner circle updated on my well-being and waited with the AC blasting.
The AAA guy called and asked my exact whereabouts. “Just send me your location. You have an iphone, right?”
I do not have an iphone.
My daughter and friends are always bugging me about it.
“This wouldn’t happen if you had an iphone.” is something I hear often.
He found me anyway and had my spare tire on in minutes. He even did a quick check of my battery to make sure I hadn’t drained it with my podcast listening, phone charging, AC running shenanigans.
I made it to my friend’s and took my car to the tire shop near his place the next day. Turns out all four of my tires were badly worn. $800 and a few hours later I had four brand new tires. Plus, a new haircut, freshly waxed eyebrows, a gyro and a couple pairs of shorts from the nearby shopping center.
I was lucky. A tire blowout can be deadly, especially on a highway. I was able to pull over to safety, stay sheltered (with AC, entertainment and snacks to boot) and wait for AAA rescue. Pay attention to your dash lights.
And I swear I’m finally going to get that oil change this week.