Monday, February 1, 2010

The value of being prepared: Little situation today

Nothing grand but today's car problem ended up being a situation where many of the things we talk about here often got put into practice.

We were heading back to my parents home in Barcelona, about 8 PM, when suddenly the car shut down in the middle of the highway, going at around about 80 m/h. Remaining clam, I started the car again, and found a new problem: I didn't have a clutch any more. The engine worked ok but the clutch did nothing. 1,2,3,4 and 5th gear, the engine simply didn't engage.
So remaining calm I kept going, trying to find a good place to stop. I found none and was forced to stop on the side of a particular highway that had no place for walking. After putting on the reflective jacket and setting the reflective triangles on the road, we left the stop lights blinking and decided to walk the mile left because the insurance company's card wasn't in the vehicle. ( my father's)
Of course it was very cold, so we got our jacket and my wife, son and baby got our jacket and left the car.

There was no sidewalk, and we had to walk on the side behind the metal highway fender.
This is where the first "prep" thing came really handy; Good working shoes. Even in such a tidy country where one would have thought you'd never have a need for them, the good working shoes came terribly handy as I walked there with my baby son, mostly over overgrown grass and broken bottles and construction material that was left there. Soon the narrow place we were walking on just dissapeared, and we had to cross to the other side on that highway, at rush hour. Man that was hard and we were pretty worried.
I had my Q5 Led flashlight with me and we had been using it to see where we stepped on, so before attempting to cross I set it to "strobe". You know, one of those things you think you'll never need? Well... guess what, we ended up needing it there and it sure helped to cross that highway.

Incredible, but that's what happens when there's no sidewalk and its expected of people to go from A to B always using a car.
Then we kept walking, it was very cold so I used the space blanket (emergency blanket) I keep in my EDC bag to cover the baby a bit better.

Walking back home may not sound like much of a big deal, but can you do it carrying a bag, a kid... and going uphill? Get in shape guys, a million situations where good cardio is needed.

We got home, finally managed to contact my dad and got the car picked up.(he wasn't answering out cell phone calls because he thought we were a guy from work that kept calling)

Not a big deal, but its just one of those situations where it feels darn nice to be the way we are, carry the stuff some of us supposedly carry all day for no good reason, and well, cope with these little inconveniences much better than most people do.



Blackeagle said...

Glad everything worked out and you and your family were all right.

I had a somewhat similar non-disaster situation where a bit of preparation paid off recently. Due to a miscommunication between my homebuilder and the city water department, they shut off water to my house for the weekend. I've got about 50 gallons of water in the basement so I was still able to drink, cook, flush toilets, etc. Had I been less prepared, I still would have survived, but I might have had to buy a bunch of bottled water or stay in a hotel for the weekend.

It doesn't take TEOTWAWKI or a major disaster to make sensible preparations useful.

SiriusBlack said...

Glad you were prepared and everything worked out all right, Ferfal, but wouldn't it have been better to phone the automobile association (using your mobile phone) and have them pick you up? With a GPS phone you could have told them exactly where you were.

gaga said...

Ferfal, I have to agree with SirusBlack. You should have phoned for help - you put your family in a more dangerous situation. You should have made sure you had someone to contact in emergencies. Breakdown cover is also universal in Europe - get it, its not expensive and in the UK it can apply to the person not the vehicle so you father could have called them to they would have taken your family and car to your home/destination.

FerFAL said...

"we left the stop lights blinking and decided to walk the mile left because the insurance company's card wasn't in the vehicle. ( my father's)"
There was no insurance card for getting help, so I couldnt call them. (My fahter left both in teh other car , ouch!)
Of course I called my father and mother as well, of course it was the first thing I did, but they were in the hospital because my mother had conjutivitis and we couldn't get through to them.