Tuesday, April 16, 2024

AWRIGHT DEN: Women and flats


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A few weeks ago, just after 6 p.m., I was walking through a parking lot towards my car when a woman seeking some assistance approached me.
She said: “Star boy, you know anything about a flat tyre?”
Though the question was a bit ambiguous, I had an idea what she wanted to know. I asked if she had a flat tyre and she said, yes. I told her I could change it for her.
I asked the woman if she had $15 because I am not doing it for free. The woman’s jaw dropped in astonishment, so I proceeded to explain the fee.
I said: “Food gone up, gas gone up, water gone up and things tight, so I trying my best to make an extra dollar.”
The woman said: “Sorry, but I don’t have any cash on me.”
I looked at her, and said: “Sorry.”
I got in my car, put it in first gear and drove off and left the woman standing there in the poorly lit parking lot.
Come on, does that really sound like me? Is that something I would do? Of course not, I was just playing with you readers.
I got in my car and drove it next to hers in the event she didn’t have the tools required to change the tyre. The woman opened her trunk and took out everything that was in it. I proceeded to take out the jack and wheel tool.
While doing that, I just felt the need to explain what I was doing as I didn’t know if she had ever changed a tyre or even knew how to do it.
I told her the names of all the tools; where they are normally located; how to get them out; where to put the jack under the car; why it is important to slacken the wheel nuts before raising the car; the role of the carpet in the trunk and the list goes on.
This wasn’t the first time I assisted a woman in changing a tyre but this experience caused me to think and as a result I have a few suggestions.
It would be interesting to know how many women don’t know how to change a car tyre. I encourage you to ask around and see how many you find. This should not be done to belittle, shame or pull down our wonderful women, but to get a general awareness of how serious a situation this is.
My suggestion is this: when someone is learning to drive, the instructor should teach his or her students the correct and safe way to change a car tyre.
Another aspect that should be taught is how and when to check oil, radiator, brake, transmission, power steering and battery fluid levels.
I also see it as important for the instructor to explain to the student what each light in the dashboard means. Instructors also need to teach their students how to use the air pumps in the gas stations and what is the correct psi (pound per square inch) for their tyres.
When I learned to drive, I wasn’t taught any of the above. I can remember once having to pull into a gas station because steam was coming from under the bonnet.
When I got in the gas station, I didn’t know what to do. A man came over and checked my oil levels and told me it was almost empty. He asked which oil I use, whether 10-30, 10-40, 20-40 . . . . I had no idea what he was talking about.
Yes, most insurance companies have free road assist services but I still hold strong to the point that all the above should be taught when someone is learning to drive.
For those who are drivers but don’t know how to do any of the above properly, my suggestion is to ask someone to show you and practise doing it there in their presence as you do not know when or where you will need to use his knowledge.
You should not only drive the car, you should also maintain and care the car.


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