October 16, 2000
by indavis <email@example.com>
One thing I realized this weekend while driving to the local stock car track is that the latest media frenzy is now affecting my drive. You know what I am talking about, the Firestone recall. Here's how it is affecting my daily driving: You are cruising down the highway, when all of a sudden, the entire six lanes of traffic you are in the middle of come to a screeching halt. Ten minutes later, you get to the spot where traffic is bunched up and fixing to go again when you spot the reason for all of this. Someone sitting on the shoulder has a flat. Now why would that slow down an entire side of a twelve lane freeway? you ask. Everyone at that point is craning their necks to read the tire and see if it's a Firestone that blew out.
I really don't want to get into a debate on the whole recall issue, but I would like to throw out a couple of comments.
Just driving around and being the casual observer that I am, I have seen people put tires and rims through unimaginable abuse, from curb surfing to awful parking. Is this abuse being taken into consideration before labeling a tire as defective? They are just tires, people. I am surprised that they hold up to the abuse they get on a daily basis. Think about it, drop a thousand pounds on a piece of rubber inflated with air, and sling it down the road at about 88 feet per second, then throw in potholes, heavy braking, and incredible temperature extremes. While I am on this subject, I think everyone should take a mechanics course, just to see what exactly is holding your car together. When you find out there is just one nut, and about 10 threads holding your spindle to the car, you might change your driving habits. Mechanical failures will always happen. It is your job to be prepared, which leads directly into my next comment.
This might cause me a little grief here, but I always drive like the next second might be the last for one of my front tires. Both hands gripping the wheel firmly at the 10 and 2 positions. It might not be comfortable at first, but you get used to it. If you are driving along with one hand on the wheel (barely) and not paying attention to your surroundings, like where other cars are, and other objects in and along the road, then it doesn't matter what brand of tire you are sporting, you are asking to become a statistic. You will get no warning, so you need to be prepared at all times. You and others' lives are "in your hands" when you are behind the wheel. I have seen people reading, putting on makeup, and other assorted tasks while driving. If any of those people experienced a mechanical failure while performing these odd routines, they would probably be at room temperature right now. I am not saying that Firestone is not at fault here, but you should be able to handle your vehicle at all times even if a front tire were to completely come off. Again, I am not trying to assign or remove blame here, but I do see a lot of people who do not take driving too seriously. Piloting a 4,000-pound piece of metal at 88 feet per second (55 mph.) should not be taken lightheartedly. It's time to put both hands back on the wheel, and stop slowing down to read the damn tires!
Published: October 16, 2000