My Car Died On The Garden State Parkway In New Jersey, What You Need To Know To Survive
Have you ever wondered what would happen if your car suddenly died right in the middle of the Garden State Parkway? Take it from me, there are certain things you need to do in that situation to survive.
My car is gone. It didn't die peacefully in a parking lot somewhere either. No, this one gave me drama in the worst way so I wanted to write about my experience in case it happens to any of you.
I was driving home from the radio station when a gravel truck had some pebble spillage. Little rocks started bouncing on my car and windshield which is a one way ticket to spider city. So to get away, I revved my engine to pass this guy. Mind you it was around 100 degrees out that day which I'm sure did not help matters. All of a sudden, after all the communing my little car has done for me over the past two years, she protested. I swear I head her yell "hell to the no" (in my head she sounded like Whitney Houston yelling at Bobby Brown) and then, just like that, she shut off. Right there in the middle of the GSP. I'll tell you this, what I did next mattered.
I had a temperamental semi-trailer behind me almost touching my bumper and honking like a maniac. The more my car began to slow, the closer he got because he either couldn't or wouldn't slow down. The first thing I did was hit my hazard lights so he would see I had a failing car and get over. He did, after he called me every name in the book.
1. I hit my flashers right away. I wanted to try to communicate I was having a mechanical meltdown and I was not trying to slow down Tonka Tim behind me in the semi.
2. My next big danger was that I was still in the middle and I was running out of juice. Literally coasting and I only had so much time before I was SOL. I used hand signals to let the people on my right know I had to get over NOW. Some ignored me but luckily one listened.
3. Dangerous dilemma number three, the shoulder was not deep. I coasted along the grass to the deepest part of the shoulder that I could knowing that if I could not get far enough in I would have to climb out the passenger side and walk to get away from the road. All it would take is one person texting for that to go very wrong. Even an inch can matter here.
4. From a safe place I called my tow truck but that was another little "teachable moment" that I may be able to save you from...
It turns out that you can't just get any local tow truck if you are on the GSP or Turnpike in New Jersey. You HAVE to use the state police contracted tow company. I learned that the hard way because I ordered my tow and waited 3 hours until they let me know that they were not allowed to get me or they could be fined. So what do you do? I had to hit #477 on my phone and the police had to dispatch me help. If I was on the Turnpike, I would have had to hit #95 to get the same assistance. Why has no one ever told me that? At least now you know!
The police-sanctioned tow truck came, charged me $107 bucks to take me one exit up and dump me off so I was "not on the parkway". Then I had to call a private company to come and get me and an hour later I was on my way to the mechanic. I just wanted to let you all know that if you are ever in the same scary situation you need to have those numbers saved in your phone. Tell your kids too!
I'm buying a new car before I really wanted to but peace of mind is worth a lot too. Be safe, be kind to other drivers, and don't drive faster than your angels can fly!
These are considered to be some of the most dangerous roads in New Jersey.