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More car woes

May 16, 2008 - Summer Wallace-Minger
I was thinking about my mechanic, Gerry, today as I was pumping gas. Gerry owns Wellsburg Tire and Collision on Washington Pike in Wellsburg, and I drive all the way from Weirton to have my oil changed there because I trust Gerry not to rip me off. Now, sometimes, I think he short changes himself by giving me better deal than I deserve, but I haven't quite figured out what to do about that.

The reason I was thinking about him was the lecture I recieved on getting my oil changed regularly and having the tires rotated by a professional mechanic whom I can trust. Gerry gave me this lecture, explaining my gas mileage will be much better if I have the oil changed and the tires rotated. He then had to explain what it means to have my tires rotated.

I was thinking about this because it is actually cheaper to buy gas in Pennsylvania now than it is in West Virginia. I have been making a habit of never buying gas in Pennsylvania, because it was always 10 cents cheaper on this side of the state line, and 10 cents cheaper than that to get it in Ohio. So I always bought it in Ohio when I could and never in Pennsylvania. I have no idea why it's suddenly more expensive here.

I am still having bad car mojo, including my husband rear-ending some SWAT guy on US 22. There's construction in the area, and let me ask you why people feel the need to a) drive the speed limit or b) come to a near stop when they see the construction workers?

Number one, everyone is driving 70 mph on that sucker when all lanes are open. Apparently, on US 22, the speed limit is more of a suggestion than a law. However, there are a couple people who stick to the speed limit, but that's what passing lanes are for. Myself, I like to keep it around 60 mph -- it keeps the cost of speeding tickets down.

However, when everything is squeezed into one little lane, and the law-abiding are in front of you, there's nothing you can do except for give them the stink eye in the rearview and grind your teeth.

Now, the state cops (and why aren't they the Pennsylvania COMMONWEALTH Police instead of the Pennsylvania STATE Police? That really bothers me) are sitting there, but I've gone through at about 50 - 55 mph, and they don't even blink. Seriously, if you keep it reasonable, don't swerve all over the place and stay away from the construction workers, I think you'll be alright.

Now, I understand slowing down a little when you see the construction workers, even riding the berm of the road as much as possible -- I have absolutely no desire to hit them either.

However, may I point out that they probably are aware they are working in an area where cars are coming through. My guess is that they are looking before crossing the lane of traffic. Most of the time, they are safely on their side of the orange barrels. As long as everyone is reasonably alert, nothing bad should happen.

When you SLAM on your brakes, you are more likely to be struck by the person behind you, causing a real hazard for those poor construction workers.

Perhaps it's raining and the person behind you isn't paying attention and they strike you, causing an impassable roadway. Then, maybe, the person behind the person who struck you is driving a car in which his wife mentioned to him the brakes probably need to be changed, but he hasn't quite gotten around to it yet.

Maybe those brakes -- in the rain -- don't necessarily stop him in time. Then, that person has to call his wife while she's trying to interview some nice people in Avella about the upcoming farmers market (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Avella fire hall, people -- fresh greens, because you know you want a salad).

The moral of this story is: Don't slam on your brakes in the middle of construction unless you are going to actually hit either a person or another car.

I don't care if a deer jumps out in front of you. There are plenty of deer; another one will probably jump out in front of you tomorrow.

Now, if you do hit someone, it's only polite to fix their car. If you hit, say, a 2002 silver Taurus parked in the Heinz field lot in Pittsburgh on a Saturday evening when there's a Pirates' game, and the owner isn't around, you don't sneak off like a cowardly S.O.B. You leave a note on the car with your real name and phone number.

Then you pay the $150-$175 it's going to cost to get that dent/scrape out of the driver's side door of the car, especially since the driver's side of the car was just replaced. When a car goes through around $5,000 worth of body and mechanical work, and you do that to it less than two months afterwards, it's just wrong.

That's okay, though, buddy -- you reap what you sow. Hopefully, I have the chance to back up over your car, then leave without telling you some day. Or, hey, there's always the chance your car could be vandalized. It's a big city.


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I was in Hickory today, and there is a massive junk yard nearby. Rolling hills ... farm land ... more hills ... more farm land ... BOOM! 500 cars crammed together in a couple acres. I don't know why this car is balanced on top of this Jeep. There's still room around the Jeep, it's not a space issue. How did they get that on top of there? More importantly, why did they put it on top of the Jeep?