What's Your Saddest 'Stuck On The Side Of The Road' Story?

Image credit: Raphael Orlove
Image credit: Raphael Orlove
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

Have you gotten stuck before? Was it a cold and stormy night? Dear God—did you have to sleep in your car before help arrived?


Fortunately, this hasn’t happened to me yet. But it did happen to my parents when they went to Portugal many years ago. From the way my mom tells it, she accidentally mis-shifted from fifth to second and then the “shitty little car” died.

So they pushed it to the side of the road and called the rental car agency for a mechanic. They spoke no Portuguese. And there were no cell phones. She had to walk along the highway until she found a restaurant with a phone.


The first guy showed up two hours later with a tool box, poked around a bit, and declared the car “broken.” The second guy came with a tow truck... another two hours later.

How about you?

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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I have a story that is more from my parents perspective, but I was there.

My mom was driving ... somewhere, in her little Ford Escort EXP. (one of these)

When she was driving the car started to lose power, she managed to get it off the highway and into a parking lot and it promptly died. Turns out the timing belt exploded and the water pump was seized. So me (at like age 8 and my sister at age 5) and my Dad all pile in the conversion van and head out.

At this point I should mention it’s January in Western New York.

We get there and I don’t recall why the lift was needed (maybe just to go faster); but I distinctly remember leaving with my Dad once we got to my Mom with a warm car, then going to my Grandfather’s house and getting an engine lift from one of his friends. We head back. My dad proceeds to do a timing belt and water pump change, in the middle of a parking lot, from about 4pm to 10pm in 0 degree weather in the snow. Meanwhile, my mom, me and my sister are sitting in the van watching TV and eating McDonalds with my Dad coming to join every half hour or so to warm back up. Eventually he got it changed out and we drove both cars back home and dropped off the lift.

I remember everything so distinctly, even 26 years later. My dad is one of the best self taught mechanics I’ve ever met.