The summer holidays are upon us, meaning hundreds of families will soon be setting off on long-awaited getaways, many by car. But while the kids have fun on the backseat, keen to be hitting the road on their holidays, plenty of parents will be left praying the car doesn’t let them down on the way there.
With more cars on the road at this time of year, the extra traffic can cause long queues and jams. Couple that with soaring temperatures, and the fact that your car might not have had a good run out in months, and the odds of having a breakdown increase tenfold.
Every driver dreads breaking down and being left stranded on the roadside, but it’s even more hassle when you’re taking the kids on their first proper holiday of the year. Sometimes you’ve got to see the funny side of things – after all, disasters are often the thing we remember most about holidays.
To prove that breakdowns aren’t all that bad, we want to hear your best car breakdown stories. From the funny to the awkward, the scary to the outright weird, we’re keen to know your best tales from the roadside, so get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.
In need of a little inspiration? You’re in luck. To show that breakdowns happen to the best of us, we got in touch with some of our favourite bloggers and asked them to share their most memorable breakdown mishaps. Here’s what they had to contribute:
John Adams, dadbloguk.com
“My favourite breakdown story was an unsuccessful attempt to attend Glastonbury Festival. I was meant to be going with a friend and we purposefully left it until late at night to avoid heavy traffic. I drove to a petrol station, filled up with fuel, left and headed on to the nearby roundabout. At this point the car lost all power, a major problem having developed with the transmission.
I just managed to struggle around the roundabout and back onto the petrol station forecourt where the car limped into a parking bay. It was clear we weren’t going to Glastonbury. I called for a recovery truck and my friend went home. There was, after all, no point hanging around as help was on its way.
Unfortunately, help didn’t come for six hours. It was 5am before the recovery truck arrived. Turns out it had been a very busy night and he’d been dispatched from Milton Keynes to Oxfordshire to tow me the four miles home!
These were the days before everyone had a mobile phone so I just had to wait for the guy. Luckily it was a pleasant summer’s night, although I would have preferred to have spent it partying in Somerset than on a petrol station forecourt!”
Dave, The Dadventurer.com
“I used to own a Peugeot 206 which developed a nasty habit of randomly losing power. For whatever reason, the car would suddenly slow down and not react to my foot on the accelerator. Sometimes the power would kick back in, other times the car came to a complete standstill, such as when I became stranded in the outside lane of the A40 at rush hour. A helpful passer-by, a police tow and a breakdown truck eventually got me to safety. The fault certainly made driving scarier, more exciting and unpredictable!”
Steve Napier — CarBlog.co.uk
“The year was 1992, many moons before I was a car blogger. I was a student at Lancaster University in the foothills of the Lake District. Me and my friends took a trip in our assorted ‘cheap first cars’ across the lakes enjoying the beautiful scenery and great driving roads in equal measure. It was only when we approached Hardknott Pass that I was to have one of my most embarrassing moments in life. You see I was driving a Ford Escort 1.1L Popular which is quite likely the most underpowered car in the world, and Hardknott Pass has a maximum gradient of 1 in 3! The Escort 1.1 said “no” and I was the laughing stock. Since then I’ve always had a penchant for powerful cars!”
Tim Atkinson — Bringingupcharlie.co.uk
“Once I became a student in London, my car began showing it’s age. Trips down the M1 at the start of term got slower. My parents became wearily accustomed to the flashing orange lights of the AA relay truck at 3am and I became more familiar with the train. Eventually, south of Leicester Forest East services, the engine blew up. There was a lot of smoke. The car’s final journey was to the scrap yard. And there were tears. But I can still remember the number: NME 980L.”
So the next time you break down by the roadside, and don’t know whether to laugh or cry, remember these unfortunate souls and tell yourself that it could be worse.
And remember — if you’ve got a memorable breakdown story you’re happy to share with fellow Holts fans, we’d love to hear from you, so get in touch on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Of course, the hassle of roadside breakdowns can be avoided by investing in Holts DIY car maintenance products. Our handy range of practical car products are perfect for emergencies at the roadside, so you can enjoy a little peace of mind on your summer road trip. For more information, visit the Holts homepage.