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Thursday, December 16, 2010

RISKY DRIVING: BELTWAY, WASHINGTON, DC

By JC Leahy

We're expecting snow today and wouldn't it be the day that my 4x4 Explorer is in the shop!!!  It happened like this:  I was on the Washington Beltway in moderate, moving-right-along traffic.  A car came up fast in the lane to my right.  Something about the way he was driving made me alert, thank goodness!!  As soon as he had passed my front bumper, he pulled over in front of me and SLAMMED on his brakes.  Obviously, he was trying to have an accident, although I do not understand why.  Well, I SLAMMED on my brakes just as quick as you like, and did NOT hit him.  However, half a mile later, when I tapped on my brakes for a more routine manoeuvre, the pedal went ALL the


way to the floor with almost no effect!  Gently, I drove the 155,000-mile-old Explorer to my trusted local garage and left it there.  As it turned out, the stress of stopping the old beast had ruptured a brake line.  Because of corrosion, the brake line couldn't be disconnected from some other brake components, which would therefore need replacement.  There was also another brake line badly rusted, which I decided to replace as a precautionary measure.  Total damage: $850. Yikes!!!  I just had a $500 "oil change" last month, and some other repair bills before that!!  It's getting to be a high-maintenance vehicle!!!   I'm just thankful that my reaction time was so quick!!  Why do people drive like that??!!

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