Flatspot! September 12, 2000
Monday September 12, 2000 12:27:13 am

I left work early today. I had a big batch process running on my computer and there was not much for me to do besides sit and watch it run, so I left early to go help a friend set up his internet access.

It was warm at about 4:15 in the afternoon as I was moving down the highway in the neighborhood of 75 - 80 mph (120 - 130 kph). The windows were down. (Even if the A/C worked the windows would have been down cause that's just the kind of guy I am.) The wind was rushing and my mind was wandering.

I don't know where I was, but all of a sudden I looked up to see bright red brake lights above a rear bumper that was flying towards my front bumper!

I hit the brakes hard. As my speedometer needle dove for the safety of the left side of the guage, the red lights ahead maintained their intended assault on the bow of my vehicle. As I slowed, the brakes straining to do their job, the space between the bumpers shrunk fast and as the space shrunk I gritted my teeth and braced for impact.

When 3 feet separated the two cars, I felt confident a collision was imminent and my foot unconsciously pressed harder on the brake. That yard rapidly evaporated to less than a foot and I heard the tires scream in agony as the grip of the brakes on the wheels exceeded the grip of the tires on the road. Just as I was sure my lovely left-work-early afternoon was about to be instantaneously downgraded to a crappy day, just as the gap of safety was shredded to mere inches the chorus of the tires reached a crescendo and those wicked, still-red lights pulled forward as my car and I were enveloped in a cloud of black smoke.

Now at about 40 mph (64 kph), my speed was more closely synchronized with that of the cars around me as we merged into one lane to pass by the emergency vehicles surrounding the overturned flatbed truck in the median.

"Wow," I thought "just like NASCAR or something, eh? Yeah, Dufus, just like NASCAR. I wonder if you flatspotted the tires 'just like NASCAR'" I answered myself in a scathingly sarcastic tone. "Is there a shake in the steering wheel that wasn't there before? Yup, I think so, Stupid."

When I arrived at my destination and checked the tires, sure enough, there was one spot on each front tire where there remained about 1/2 as much tread as was on the rest of the tire.

Let me interject at this point that I am very glad I rotated the tires last Saturday. The car is front wheel drive and the ones that had been on the front had worn well into the tread wear indicators, but the back ones still had a few weeks use in'em so I swapped the fronts for the backs. If I had not done so I probly would have been in trouble...

Guess where my next paycheck is going?

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