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We Are Marmalade

January 21, 2019

Driving advice Owning a car Young driver stories 6 min read

Hi everyone! My name is Katie and I recently had a bit of a disaster with my car! Marmalade got in touch and asked me if I’d share this story with you all, either so you can laugh at my expense or avoid making the same mistakes I did – let’s hope it’s the latter!

I’ve been driving for around 7 years now and currently drive a 58 plate Ford Fiesta! Now up until recently, I’d never had a problem with my car. All MOTs are fine, and whilst I’m probably not the best at keeping up with car maintenance – all in all, it has treated me well over the last 4 years I’ve owned it.

The first clue that my car was breaking

During the Christmas holidays, my car wasn’t used much. I, my partner and son would take day trips out, but head off in his car instead (there’s more room in his 5 door Audi than in my little Fiesta). One day before Christmas I hopped in my car to head to the shop and I could tell straight away that something wasn’t right – the steering was heavy and the engine didn’t sound healthy at all. Instead of thinking there was a problem with my car, I just put it down to the fact it hadn’t been driven for a while and was sat in the cold and wet weather outside! It wasn’t a big deal – I got to and from the shops fine and honestly – I didn’t think any more of it.

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We’ve hit the breaking point

The Christmas holidays came to an end and my son was due back at school, and of course, at this point, I’d forgotten about the car issue I’d noticed a week or so before. My friend had messaged me just before we were due to set off to let me know there had been an accident on the parkway, so I planned a route to avoid the parkway and head through town.

We were on our way when my son noticed a burning smell. “What’s that smell, it stinks?!” I’d assumed it was the big lorry in front of us so told him the same. We continued to drive through the city centre and head towards his school. We approached a big roundabout and as I pulled off, all of a sudden I heard a huge bang! I quickly felt my car drag to the left-hand side and all I could see was smoke. PANIC!

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What do I do now?!

As the car came to a fast stop at the side of the roundabout, I panicked and could hear my son in the back of the car panicking too. “What’s that Mummy… what’s happened… are we going to be ok?” I took my car out of gear, put on my handbrake and my hazards lights, and turned off the engine. I looked in my mirror and could see a line of cars waiting behind me. I was so embarrassed, shocked and had no idea what to do – this had never happened to me before!

I got out of the car and went to get my son out of the passenger side. As we stood on the grass verge, guess what my first thought was… RING MUM (except my Mum doesn’t actually drive, so I’d actually need my hero stepdad to come and save the day). I spoke to my mum and I could feel myself panicking more and more. The traffic was building up and I was just starting to realise what had actually happened! Once I got off the phone and knew my stepdad was coming to the rescue, my next thought was – there is no way we can change a tyre here!

Dad to the rescue!

After waiting what seemed like forever, and having a few passers-by stop and ask if we needed help – my stepdad turned up! He pulled up behind me and checked what had happened, the tyre was completely blown! He told me that we would need to find somewhere safe to change the tyre, which meant we had to go over the roundabout! My son got into my stepdad’s car and we moved on very slowly at around 5mph. As we drove over the roundabout and onto a street (yet again I checked my mirror and see the line of traffic slowly increasing), a driver behind my stepdad was not very happy at all. He was trying to overtake us both and just as we were about to go around a bend, he went past us and beeped his horn very loudly – not what any of us needed to hear in an already super stressful and scary situation!

We pulled into a side street to get ourselves sorted. My stepdad took my son to school once he had calmed down, and then came back to change the tyre for me. Yes, I stood and waited for him because I haven’t got a clue how to change a tyre! Probably something I should learn how to do, aye?

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Lesson learned

After getting the spare tyre on, I drove back to my mums for a cuppa and to calm down. The drive there (even though it wasn’t far) was so scary and filled me with anxiety! Now, this has happened, I was so paranoid it would happen again.

This whole situation has made me much more aware of how important car maintenance is, and the lack of car maintenance I have actually been doing. Whilst this can probably happen to anyone, I think if I would’ve checked my car more regularly it could’ve been avoided.

I am now well and truly on the hunt for a new car. Now I know having a blown tyre doesn’t necessarily call for a new car, but I had been thinking about it for a little while and I think this incident helped me make up my mind.

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By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

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