Sunday, March 26, 2006

Brake Failure!

Saturday morning, we set out to buy some groceries and decided to shop outside of Carbondale for a change of scene. Since I'm still not very confident driving on American roads, I use every opportunity I can get to drive when Nanu is around. I took the wheel and so started our ill-fated journey that day.

As I was driving, I began to feel as though I had to literally shove the brake down to the floor with all my might, to get the car to stop. I told Nanu, "I think there's something wrong with the brakes!"

"Oh c'mon, you're just saying that to get out of driving. Stop making up excuses and just DRIVE," he replied.

So I drove even though I kept thinking to myself there was something wrong with the brakes. Luckily we managed to reach Marion, a town nearby, unscathed and went grocery shopping at Sam's Club (a place we hardly ever visit by the way!). We bought loads of puppy food, kitty food, cat litter, groceries, rice and assorted knick knacks and piled it into the car.

"Let me check the brakes, since you've been complaining so much," said Nanu and took the car keys from me. A few second later, he turned to me with a horrified look on his face.

"Ohmigod! How did you even drive this car all the way here?" he asked. "The brakes don't work at all!"

I gave him my favorite "I told you so" line, while he frantically tried to figure out what was wrong with the braking system. He was simply aghast that he had allowed me (a beginning driver) to drive with failing brakes and even more upset that he had just dismissed my concerns attributing them to me wanting to get out of driving.

To end a long story short, our car is right now at Tom's place, where it’s getting a good overhaul. Tom is a Greek guy with a PhD. who gave up a corporate career to work on his first love – cars. But that’s a completely different story!

He told us the brakes will have to be replaced and it’s going to cost us anywhere between $400 and $600 depending on what he finds once he opens up the thing.

A friend of ours has generously given us his car to use, until we can get our car back from the workshop. I'm just happy and very thankful that we are alive and in good health, despite being in a car with no brakes. Man, we could have had a serious accident. That’s a scary thought.


abbyladybug said...

Always go with your gut!!

Shree said...

I am glad you are safe-Shree

poornima said...

Yeah, it was a bit scary, but am glad we'e safe!

Anonymous said...


I have been reading Merill's blog's since the last year- I didnt know you guys knew each other so well.
The world of blog is so small

poornima said...

Who is this?!! You forgot to post your name!

Brian said...

My goodness! I'm glad you came out of that one unscathed. You probably more than proved to yourself you can drive well, though. Just imagine how much easier it would be with working brakes!

athcnv said...

How did you manage the stop the car when parking?

Also, did you know anything about how to handle a brake failure at the time?

Especially step 3 -

Build up your brake pressure by pumping the brake pedal fast and firmly. Don't pump anti-lock brakes -- press down hard on them instead and plan on taking longer to stop.

Actually, the story reminds me of a scene in the hindi movie "Shaan", though that didn't end too well for the woman driver.

poornima said...

Just sheer beginner's luck I guess! What else can I say? :)