, 09.03.2018 08:08 AM

Apparently, I should be dead

‎So, I should be dead.

There I was on the 401 outside Woodstock, driving back to TO in the fastest lane. The highway was clear and smooth. No potholes or anything like that.

The Jeep was new, too, less than 10,000 km – and that’s even after driving to Maine and back. Brand-new Goodyears, came with the vehicle.

Heard the sound first – always listen to your vehicle! – and then saw indicator showing rapid tire pressure loss. Driver side rear tire.

I can’t remember exactly how, but I got across three pretty busy lanes to the far side of the 401, and then up onto the grass.

My first feeling was irritation. Irritated with Toronto Dodge Chrysler (the dealer), Goodyear (the tire manufacturer), the roadside assistance outfits (both useless). Changed the tire myself without getting hit, and drove back home in the slow lane.

It was only when I got home, and was able to post a photo of the tire, that I started hearing from many, many folks. Messages I received many times: Warren, your tire shouldn’t have done that. A new tire shouldn’t ever do that.

And: Warren, you are lucky to be alive. You should be dead.

When I looked at that tire, I couldn’t really disagree: like, how did I get across three busy lanes of highway traffic after a blowout like that? Should I be pushing up, er, daisies?

I’ve always believed – actually known, but it’s a long story – that I wasn’t going to go out with a whimper. I’d be slipping this mortal coil with a bang. No hospital rooms for me, man.

When I was a punk rock teenager, I couldn’t picture getting to 20. Now that I’m a punk rock geriatric, I can’t believe I’m in my fifties. Feels like I’m running out of runway, you know? Losing Gordie this Spring brought all of that into pretty sharp focus.

Anyway. For now, still here. Still breathing. Still kicking. Sorry about that, haters.

Looking at that tire, my two-part piece of advice to all of you is this: one, live the cliché, and live each day like you don’t have any more days.

And, two: get good tires.

23 Comments

  1. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Glad you’re OK.

    I think someone was watching out for you upstairs. As in guardian angel.

  2. Steve T says:

    The key to your survival was the tire location. Rear tire – you can still steer. Front tire – not so much. Inability to steer at highway speed is not conducive to life.

  3. Mervyn Norton says:

    Thanks for showing us a picture of your Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar. As Goodyear says: “For both highway driving and going off-road at a moment’s notice.”

  4. Walter says:

    Happy you made it safely.

    Very smart to make it over to the right shoulder. The left shoulder is a death-trap and shouldn’t even be there. If trapped on the left, either stay in your car, or possibly get out, hop up on the barrier wall, and walk backwards a bit so your safe from debris if car is hit.

    Regarding your tire – check the tread. Not sure if you picked up a nail or something else to cause the leak, and then the tire disintegrated as you made your way to the right lane (I imagine that likely took quite a few hundred metres). Better to destroy the tire, and possibly even the rim, then be stranded in the median at the mercy of the intelligence of motorist in the left lane for the next hour or more.

  5. Nasty Bob says:

    Happy that you’re still among us but to make sure that remains the case you should go check the psi on all your tires and make sure they’re up to spec.
    That looks like a classic severely under inflated blow out

  6. Angel Martin says:

    “All Seasons” tires are compromised crap.

    Not good for high speed summer temperatures driving.

    Not good for winter conditions driving.

    Especially for climates like TO, it’s just foolish to not have separate summer and winter tires. Amazing false economy to spend tens of thousand on a vehicle and then cheap out on a few hundred dollars for winter tires.

    Vehicle and tire manufacturers promote the M+S BS and, unfortunately, cheap Canadians are happy to “save” on winter tires.

  7. Eastern Rebellion says:

    Glad you and your family are okay Warren. Hopefully this never happens again. Not a great advertisement for Jeep and Goodyear though.

  8. Fred from BC says:

    Under normal conditions, a catastrophic failure like this is all but impossible with a modern steel or Kevlar belted radial tire (especially as new as these were). No screw or nail did this, and under-inflation would have given you plenty of prior warning (especially with tire pressure indicators, which you apparently have); you would have been wrestling with the car to keep it driving straight and known well beforehand that something was wrong. To cause such rapid deflation you would need to hit something substantial (sharp and metallic) and open up a large gash with it…you would have felt this, too.

    I’m not a betting man, but if I was I’d bet that you were driving on a tire that was defective right from the factory (remember those Firestones years ago?). Nothing else adds up.

    (oh: except a GUNSHOT. That would do it…;)

  9. Derek Pearce says:

    Holy shit. Glad to hear you are alright.

  10. Craig Cantin says:

    Good Lord. Relieved to see you and yours are safe after that ordeal!

  11. Bob Runciman says:

    Glad you’re ok. We need your acid wit.

    Time to call Diamond and Diamond?

  12. RichieRoby says:

    Holy shit. I’ve lost tires before, and once like that from a sharp object. Never at that speed, thankfully.

    Glad you’re okay, and you were able to fix it! (A rather rare commodity these days) Even though ya blocked me, that’s no reason for you to go out in a Jeep of infamy (or on the side of the 401 for that matter, ha!)

  13. Robert White says:

    Quality Control in manufacturing attempts to root out defects but defects still make it to market anyways. Six Sigma Quality Control falsely instills confidence with respect to manufacturing. As one formally educated in Mechanical Engineering it is always best to never trust anything that comes out of a high production manufacturing process. Statistically, all parts have a probability of being faulty straight out of the production line.

    Geriatric punk rockers need to get out of the hammer lane on the 401 if they are not in a rush. Driving defensively is the only way to drive. The hammer lane is outright dangerous almost always. The middle lane is the safe zone unless geriatric punk rockers have to cross three lanes in a hurry.

    The right lane is for the off ramp and for those that are essentially lost and looking around for the right exit.

    Jeeps are dangerous vehicles in that they are top heavy and subject to rollover if one turns too quickly. It’s best to drive wide wheel base vehicles that are not top heavy or subject to rollover if one turns quickly on a dime.

    Cash the Jeep in and buy a GMC 1500 or 2500. Smart intelligent litigators should drive that which is least likely to be unsafe.

    RW

    • Angel Martin says:

      “Cash the Jeep in and buy a GMC 1500 or 2500.”

      Any high center of gravity vehicle whether it’s a pickup, SUV or minivan or crossover, is more likely to roll than a lower center of gravity vehicle, like a car.

      If you are actually worried about rollovers, get a real car.

  14. Gord says:

    Glad you’re OK. The exact same thing happened to me on the Coquihalla Highway just past Hope, BC so I understand how scary it is.

    I was driving a Volvo rented from Budget. The right rear tire suddenly and unexpectedly disintegrated. Same as yours – the sidewall completely separated from the tread. Luckily we were in the curb lane but even still we could not get fully onto the shoulder due to the narrowness of the highway, leaving us in a pretty dangerous spot.

    We couldn’t get a cell signal so we had to get a patrolling RCMP officer to call us a tow truck. We got stuck with a $300 tow bill to Hope because, according to Budget, we didn’t use “their” approved tow operator. No matter, they wouldn’t have covered it anyways – their policy is that the renter is responsible for tire damage. As I told the extremely rude and unhelpful customer service rep, this wasn’t a flat tire situation – the tire was clearly defective or had not been maintained. The tow guy suspected that, since they were run flats, they were probably flat or damaged when I got the car but the pressure sensor wasn’t working properly to alert us to that fact. Budget refused to take any responsibility and I then had to pay for a new tire so we could keep going on our trip.

    I was very tempted to sue the assholes but it wasn’t really worth my time to sue for $500. I chalked it up to shitty luck and will never, ever do business with Budget again. I like to think I got them back by steering business away from them at every opportunity. Needless to say when the stories hit the media in Vancouver about Budget of BC ripping people off with inflated repair bills, I was not surprised.

    TL, DR: glad you’re OK, had a similar experience myself, never ever use Budget Rent a Car.

    • Gord says:

      Oh yes, I forgot to add that there was no spare tire in the car, just a crappy patch kit. Apparently since they had run-flats, Budget figured you could just manage to get to a tire shop. That’s fine for city driving, but they knew we were taking this on rural mountain roads but rented it to us anyways. Stupid and dangerous.

      • p bre says:

        a patch kit ..how pathetic is that ! I hate rental co’s ..you seem to always have to fight to get decent resolution

        If I was jeep/goodyear I’d be reaching outt to Warren and investigating tire issue – its not only right thing to do ..its good business to resolve it …

  15. MitchB says:

    REALLY glad you’re OK. I’ve always been a Jeep guy, but those standard Wrangler tires are crap! They don’t even deserve the label “wrangler”.

  16. Matt says:

    In my younger days I was a volunteer firefighter in Central Frontenac County in Eastern Ontario. Attended countless traffic accidents on highways 7 and 38. Single vehicle and multi vehicle. Saw quite a few blown tires. A few were like this, but they were all on transport trucks.

    Don’t ever remember seeing a blow out like this on a passanger vehicle.

    Having had to deal with the aftermath of MVA’s – the lives lost and/or the life altering injuries people suffered – that resulted from blown tires, you are a very, very lucky man.

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