On the road


How times have changed in the last 10 years or so, especially since the advent of the ubiquitous cell phone. I can remember that it was not too terribly long ago that if you were a traveler on one of our major highways or interstates and developed car trouble, that if you put up your hood or trunk, in short order some kind soul would stop and offer assistance.

When I first started driving my own vehicle, usually a pickup truck, I always carried a tool box, flares, tow chain and often times a spare supply of antifreeze, oil, etc. under or behind the seat. Many a time, when I saw someone who appeared to be having trouble, I would stop and see if I could be of help, or perhaps to take them to the nearest service station where they could get professionally trained assistance.

I have in the past stopped to help when it appears that someone has struck a deer. Sometimes after a quick check to see that they were OK, I would go to the nearest exit and find a phone to call for some additional assistance. Luckily as yet, I don’t ever recall anyone being seriously hurt, just a lot of shattered nerves, glass and twisted metal.

But you don’t often see travelers today stopping to help someone who appears stranded. I assume it is in part because everybody thinks the stranded person has a cell phone to use to get help. I also recognize that some folks today are reluctant or fearful to stop and help. Consequently, our insecurity causes us to be callous toward others in need. “Oh. They have a cell phone, they’re fine,” or “The patrol will find them soon.” Maybe not so?

It would not harm us to at least stop and see if they are OK, thus providing them with some reassurance that somebody cares. Now, I am not suggesting at all that our female drivers driving alone make a habit of this, but us men could practice a bit more chivalry and be willing to help those in need.

If you are lucky enough to be the recipient of roadside assistance, do not feel compelled to monetarily reward the provider. If they have been Christian and responsible enough to stop and help, they will not be expect it. A sincere thank you is fine. But, remember your good fortune, and help if and when you can help others who may be in a similar situation.

One point of caution here, use your head and do not put yourself in danger by getting on the roadway. Keep to the breakdown lane.

Let us all make the highways and byways safer, more enjoyable and rewarding to travel. You never know, you might make a new friend.

Therefore, let’s not be so insecure in our relationships that we hide under a blanket of technology.

Skip McCullough