Friday, November 18, 2005

Blown a tire on the highway.

It's funny how when you look back it it was the little things that really did save your life. Things like having not turned on the radio, or changing into the left most lane early played an important factor on my safety that day, but I'm getting ahead of myself let's go back a day.

Yesterday, I was cruising on the highway at around 80Km/h which is slower than usual but comming home from work you're guarenteed to get into a traffic jam. Anyways I don't usually turn on the radio until I hit a speed below 50Km/h I generally don't leave it on when I cruise at speeds higher than that mainly cause I like to be aware while driving. Turns out this payed of, I began to hear a faint but intermittent hissing noise which at the time I wasn't sure where it came from. So being cautious and very aware of my vehicle (I'd better be after rebuilding: the wipers, the serpentile belt, the automatic transmission, the radiator, the termostat, all by hand.) and I knew that the intermittent nature wasn't good. So I switched to the left lane. That's when the hissing got louder, then
there was an abrupt shudder as the tire blew out and the rim hit the road.
Normal drivers would freak out and slam the breaks at this point. I ran a quick simulation in my head and realized that was not going to work since it's the front left wheel and that would make a tripod of a car horribly unstable. So immediately I switched the gearbox into reverse and let the car coast as I switched out of the lane and onto the shoulder coasting to a stop wasn't easy you had to disobey your gut instinct to hit the breaks, if you did hit the breaks the weight of the car would most definetly transfer onto the front wheels and that would mean I would risk damaging the rim further or blowing my other tire since there was only one tire holding the load of the van at this point.

Eventually the car costed to a stop and I was able to step out to inspect the tire.
Yep definetly flat,
went threw my mind. Unfortunately I didn't have a tow truck number on me so I called home to see if they can check the yellow pages. While I was doing that I remembered I had a spare, luckily the traffic jammed up at this time most cars were going only 20Km/h so I knew if I played my cards right I could finish the tire change at this time. I devised an intelligent plan as I reached for a bright yellow bin I used to collect trash in my car, I would need some way to make sure cars don't hit me and this was going to be it. Knowing the traffic jam would be brief I ran garbage can in had 10 or so metres behind the car it was hard to tell since the rain had started and it was getting cold. I knew the time I had was limited, so I droped the bright yellow bin at this position knowing that should alert drivers to steer off the shoulder or at least they'll hit that with enough time to stop before they hit me. Proceeded to unlock the hood of my car the engineers prepared me for this situation by stowing away a compact jack. The jack itself was not that great it took 100 revolutions before the wheel was high enough to be released. After many a curse words later the wheel freely came off, and I had the new spare on.
Unfortunately spares are not rated for highway travel
most spares won't let you reach over 70Km/h and I wasn't going to push mine. A few quick movements and I got off the highway but now I was in York Mills with no map.

Surprisingly my knowledge of water and terrain saved me Maddy would be proud. I live near the lake,
I realized that I could use the fact that water will always flow downhill to the lowest point to my advantage.
Obviously the lake was the lowest ground point in Toronto so all I would have to do was keep going downhill and eventually I'll be close enough to home to be able to navigate again. The plan paid off eventually I was able to get downtown and reorient myself.

Anyways that's enough excitement for the week. Now for boredom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're alive, and you know water flows downhill! Yes, I'm proud!
- Maddy