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Question of the Quarter

Every vehicle is configured differently.
While assisting a stranded motorist with car trouble, what challenges have you faced due to the unique configuration of the motorist’s automobile?
How did you resolve the situation?

“The most challenging road service we perform seems to be the flat tire… With only a short time to change the tire and a lot of people driving big SUVs these days, our drivers are faced with numerous hurdles. Often, the vehicle needs to be unloaded in order to access the spare tire. On our Parkways, the disabled vehicles are usually on the grass, so our drivers carry plywood to put under the jack to keep it stable and safe.  Since the SUVs sit higher off the ground than your typical car, we also carry two jacks – an air jack and a small 2 ton jack – and a 4X4 block of wood to put between the jack and the vehicle.  This will help lift the vehicle a little more if the jack can’t do it.”

Roll Rite Transport Specialist, NYSDOT H.E.L.P.

“A very good question with so many possibilities. I guess the most frequent one that I can think of has to do with the spare tire, but not the location of the tire but the location of the tools needed to get the spare tire down.  Every make and model stores them in a different location and sometimes that location changes from model year to model year.  I have been doing this for a long time and sometimes I just can’t figure out where they are.  Usually, a tried and true rule proves to be the best advice.  When all else fails read the instructions.  The owners manual will always tell you where to look.  The problem comes with older cars that have changed ownership and many times the owners manual is lost.  Also with older vehicles, people have misplaced the tools or they have broken them and never bothered to replace them, and that can be a challenge.  The real truth is, many times you can’t help people because of missing or broken tool in the vehicle which are needed to correct their problem.  It would be impossible for the safety patrol vehicles to carry all the tools needed for every make and model, and people need to understand that they should carefully check their vehicle to make sure it is equipped with all the needed items to help resolve a roadside emergency.  When buying a used or even a new car, ask the salesperson to show you where the spare tire, (you would be surprised how many people drive around with no spare tire), the jack, the lug wrench and the tools to remove the spare tire are located and make sure they are there.

As I stated there are many answers to your question, and this is one I think we see here quite often.”

Mark Taylor, Safety Coordinator, Dallas County Courtesy Patrol

Back to Safe Highway Matters: Summer 2011

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