Ten Things I Learned with a Flat Tire at 10pm

1.  Always carry a flashlight in your vehicle.  Lance tossed his “harvest bag” in the suburban yesterday, mostly because it had his sunflower seeds and gum in it, and it also happened to have a flashlight.  Whew!  Today’s “to-do” includes adding a flashlight to the glove box of the suburban.

2.  Pull as far off of the road as possible while staying on as flat and solid a surface as possible.  Changing a tire is not nearly as dangerous as getting hit by highway traffic while changing a tire.

3.  Highway traffic does NOT slow down, nor do they change lanes to give the stranded vehicle a little space.  (This one shocked me because it was very clear that we were a family vehicle, our two older kids were (safely!) out helping, and well… I know my husband would have stopped completely to ask if help was needed.)  It was a little stressful watching semi-trailers (and other vehicles) zoom by at 70mph.

4.  Keep your vehicle manual in the glove box and easily accessible at all times.  We do so many things wrong, but this we do right.  I’m sure my husband could have figured it out without me reading the instructions (I stopped reading halfway through) but this was the first time we had a flat on the suburban, and just getting to the tools and tire would have been tricky without the manual.

5.  Keep small children secured in their car seat throughout the process.  Even if they’re crying.  Even if they want to see what’s going on.  Even if they want to “help.”  They are safer in the vehicle, and everyone is safer if they aren’t bouncing around in the vehicle.  (Mr. 2 stayed put.  He didn’t like it, but he did it anyway.)

6.  Our middle child is growing up.  At 5 years old (almost 6, mom!), she was not happy to be stuck in the suburban while the big kids got to help.  There was some whining, but she also ended up giving her attention to the 2yo.  The two of them told jokes and sang songs to pass the time.  We were grateful, and were sure to tell her how much we appreciated it!  (The snacks left over from the softball tournament didn’t hurt, either.  😉  )

7.  Every moment is a teachable moment.  We could have made the 7yo and 10yo stay in the sub also, but we found a nice (enough) gravel area to be off the road safely and they got out to help and learn.  They held the flashlight, dug out the tools, and even loosened and tightened the lugnuts.  All under dad’s close supervision, of course.   They observed mom and dad working together to solve a problem, and saw how important it is to read instructions carefully and use those instructions to fix something.

8.  Our children are incredible in stressful situations.  We left the house at 6am yesterday morning for a softball tournament.  The three middles were at grandma and grandpa’s all day.  Miss 10 played 4 softball games in 20mph winds and 94° heat.  Little 10months “watched” all day with us.  It was a long, hot, windy, dirty day.  We were 20 minutes from home and ready to fall into bed.  I had just taken over the driving 5 miles ago because Lance was struggling to stay awake at the wheel.  The kids handled everything so well, and did not add undue stress to a messy situation.  I’m proud of them!

Also, the two big kids busted out in a VBS song while we were digging for tools, reminding us that God promised life on this earth would be hard, but that God has the Power.  (They get it.  They really, really do!)

9.  My husband is a rock star.  Seriously, folks.  I’m so thankful to be married to that man for so many reasons.  “He can change a tire on a highway at 10pm with the family ‘helping’ ” was never on my Man of God list before we married (I just got lucky there), but “Feeling safe with him at all times” was and I do.  Also, if we were the ones zooming along the highway and saw another family stopped with their hazards on, I guarantee you we would have stopped right alongside them while he helped, or lent them a flashlight, or called for help on the cell phone, or something.  Always do something. 

10.  God is good.  And funny.  “Well, that could have been much worse,” he said when we loaded up and hit the road for our final 20 miles.  We heard the tell-tale “thwapthwapthwap” right away.  The tire didn’t blow or affect my driving ability.  We found a safe place to pull over on a busy highway.  It wasn’t scorching hot or freezing cold.  The wind was more tolerable than rain or snow would have been.  We were on our way home and not running late for anything.  The kids handled it well.  We work together well.  We are blessed.

Also, we laughed because we had packed clothes for the possibility of spending the night at my parents’ place if the ballgames ran late. We knew we wouldn’t want to “drive home at 11pm” after leaving the house at 6 am.  After changing the tire and hopping on the road again, our clock read 11:06.  Oh my.  



  1. Also make sure to regularly check your spare. It would be horrible if it was flat. Glad everything worked out well and the kids were good for you!

    • Yes! GREAT idea! And we have put ourselves on “lock down,” not driving anywhere until we drive to get new tire(s). Not gonna let Murphy visit and have another flat while the spare is in use. 😉

  2. Strangely, we had a blown tire last night. At 1:30 am. 600 miles from home. Thankfully, most cars DID change to the far lane when they passed us. Mr. V said it could have been raining …

  3. I laughed at the “can change a tire was not on my Man of God list” part because that was on my list before I got married. :). I once got a flat when out with some friends and none of the guys knew what to do. I changed the tire on my own. I commited then that my future husband must know how to change a tire. My dad made sure that all of his kids, male or female, were able to change tires and other basic car maintenance before we were allowed to drive, so I’m confident in my own abilities, but it sure is nice to be married to a man who can do it too.

  4. Pulling as far off the road as possible is VERY important. We had a horrific wreck very near here the other day. A truck came along and hit the disabled vehicle and the people around it. It was a horrible tragedy in this community. 🙁

    So glad you were kept safe!

  5. I might add one to your list. Don’t wear pajamas to take your kids to school because you never know if you will be standing on the highway (albeit a very non-busy one) in them with a flat tire. 🙂

    Anyway, I am glad you were all alright being on that busy highway and that you were able to think of the positives from the event.

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