Stories that begin “One dark and stormy night” have become a storytelling cliché, but it is on just such nights that roadside assistance really shines. Imagine that you have just gotten off work. The radio station is gabbling on about local storm warnings. The air as you exit your office building is cold and damp, with a chill wind cutting across the parking lot. Thunder rumbles in the distance and sheet lightning flickers on the horizon. You are enormously glad that the store manager decided to close early, encouraging customers and employees alike to “get home before the storm breaks.”
The Drive Home
You curse the decision made two weeks ago to pay the electric bill instead of replacing your well-worn tires. They are not completely devoid of tread, but they slip treacherously as you drive off the parking lot onto the paved road. Fat raindrops begin to spatter on your windshield, some of the starring into the pattern that indicates that there might be snow integrated into the mix. You successfully merge with the hurry-home traffic on the local Interstate, but you keep to the slow lane because the dark, the spattering rain and the sparkle of lighted road signs and headlamps of other motorists make vision difficult.
Just as you get up to highway speeds, you hear a sound that is somewhere between a hiss and a cough, and your vehicle dips treacherously and you hear the sound of metal on pavement. You know right away what has happened: one of your rear tires has blown out! With your heart in your throat, you use all your driving skill to get over to the shoulder and bring your vehicle to a stop. Now what? You are far beyond walking distance of any help and you have the only family car. How can you get help?
Roadside Assistance, Your Super-Hero
Then you remember that your family insisted that you take out breakdown cover, and your spouse lovingly tucked the paperwork and contact information in the dash along with the regular insurance papers. You get out your phone – three bars! Thank goodness! And you dial the number on the insurance papers. A pleasant voice answers the phone, and you describe what has happened. With a few quick questions, the dispatcher has your location and assures you that help in on the way.
It seems like forever, but in what was probably less than thirty minutes, help arrives. A tall man bundled up in rain gear taps on your window and presents his credentials. “I want to tow you up to the station, ma’am, and the crew there will change your tire. It is too dangerous to do it out here on the highway in all this.” A bolt of lightning splits the sky, emphasizing his words. In no time at all, you are in the passenger seat of the tow truck and your worn little car is riding securely on the flatbed. A few minutes later, and you are under the canopy of a brightly lit truck stop, where “the crew” quickly changes out your tire for the spare in the trunk. “You should get those tires replaced soon,” the driver says kindly. “I know,” you reply. “What do I owe you?” “Don’t worry, you’re covered,” the man said, “We used your tire, so no extra charge. You be careful going on home, now.”
Benefits of Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance means being able to get a tow, having help with changing tires or even getting a run-down battery recharged. Some companies charge for added parts, while others have some repairs built into the budget. Any way you want to look at it, that roadside assistant buddy is a good sight to see on any dark and stormy night.