Road to oblivion

When I saw this picture, I immediately thought of the road to the airport in the Russian town I lived in.

Now imagine it completely whited out – sky, horizon, road, soft edges, no markings.

Now imagine you’re trying to work out where the centre of the road is and there is no traffic to help.

Of course you veer off two feet or so and in you go through snow into mud.

Now imagine you get out to look and the car’s new-fangled electronic locking system, in minus 25, decides to lock the car anyway.  You have a light jacket on because you would have gone from carpark to warm building, had you made it to the airport.

Now imagine a truck with workers pulls up half a kilometre away.

And imagine the worst part of all – you were actually on your way to pick up the gf at the airport and she has no idea what’s happened [before mobile phones there].

6 comments for “Road to oblivion

  1. dearieme
    March 22, 2018 at 09:30

    “You have a light jacket on because you would have gone from carpark to warm building” is the bit I can’t imagine. Who the hell drives in winter without at least a spare anorak in the car?

    • March 22, 2018 at 09:58

      Not just an anorak but a fur coat was in the car, plus fur gloves and boots. But you can’t drive in them and the heat inside the car precludes them. So people wear lighter gear inside the car.

      The electronic closing was not a self-lock – this was before such things. You had to press the device in the hand to either lock or unlock. It had never done otherwise, nor should it have, even in cold.

      The reason I stepped out was because of vision through the fogged up windscreen and I was wearing that lighter gear which was fine for the five seconds or so of stepping out and checking the scene or even of running for the building from the carpark.

      As the alarm installers I visited the following week said, “It wasn’t meant to do that.” They blamed the extreme cold for making the device unworkable. Now “unworkable” should have meant the car could neither be locked nor unlocked, let alone that it would lock on me immediately.

      Those workers up the road did pull the car out, the door now unlocked itself and I think the reason was that the last message the key received was “unlock”, I was in the worker’s warm van, the key thawed and completed the “unlock”.

      My gf did come by some minutes later, having got a lift from a work colleague. She was furious with me for inconveniencing her.

      “Light jacket” by the way, in Russian terms, means winter anorak in our terms here, the same as I wore through the winter just now. “Light boots” over there meant leather boots, only without the fur lining.

  2. Judd
    March 22, 2018 at 10:28

    In my previous work i learned never to trust vehicles not to lock themselves, no its not regular but sods law dictates when it does its far above a minor inconvenience.

    If its your vehicle always keep your ignition and other keys separate, and on that other key ring have a copy of the ignition key (a cheap unchipped copy done at the locksmiths) so should this ever happen you can manually unlock the door and let yourself back in.

    If its not your vehicle so no spare unchipped key make sure you have left enough gap open in a window that you can let yourself back in should this happen, hopefully the windows won’t auto close if the car self locks.

    A tip…what used to cause this more than anything would be when you’ve leaned slightly on the locking knob (if you have or had that sort), so when you get out make sure you pull the locking knob up so its not already triggered for closing.

    Another tip, if you have to jump start your car (Ford especially) and the battery is completely flat, make sure the door is open on the dead car or preferably you have the ignition key in your hand when you connect the jump leads/pack, because many cars will auto lock soon as power is applied to the battery.

    • March 22, 2018 at 11:00

      Good advice which Russians I got to know later who were in the mechanic business did teach me.

      Thus I would then keep a spare gear stick ball joint and clutch cable in the boot, plus had a battery at home and one in the rear footwell which I rotated once a month. Naturally, two spare wheels and tyres, also rotated. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

      Every second road had a tyre place – dirt cheap, as were the private garage mechanics who were usually better than the official ones – old timers who knew Ladas. I’d get oil and air filters and oil itself changed quite often but I’d first have to go to the large parts fairs to pick up the required parts he needed.

      I’d always pay a bit over his quote, which he thought he was making a good deal on anyway [my gf’s father told me what he paid], so quite often if I drove in, he’d quietly move a car off the hoist for an hour.

      Plus he told me about a young lad round the corner who did car electrics and he found immediately why the battery was slow draing – it was the radio. He rewired so the radio did not work with engine off and suddenly I had a long life battery.

      I didn’t use electronic closing in winter after that – disconnected and kept a piece of leather over one of the door locks for key use. Other things including removing wiper blades at night.

      Also, you had to watch petrol/water separation in the cold, especially when taking out the plugs to warm early morning. One day I did this was minus 37 and I touched the engine – hole in the glove had me stuck.

      About the only thing I stuck to was the injection. Old timers swore by carbs but mine would always start with the injection while they were jumper leading.

      • Judd
        March 22, 2018 at 11:44

        Ah, making sure that handy chap is paid right, works wonders, he’s always pleased to see you again.

        Never ceases to amaze me how half wits will pay big companies immediately or even up front, though in some areas ie energy/water etc you hardly have a choice these days, but when it comes to the little chap they’ll try to weasel him out of his honestly earned reward, and he’s just saved them probably 75% of what the main dealer (in the case of cars) would have fleeced them for, idiots.

        • March 22, 2018 at 12:56

          Absolutely – the little man and the shop floor are the first places to go.

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