We are halfway through one of our regular drives from London to Wiltshire, we have just passed by the grey built-up suburbs of Reading, and now, in contrast, we are being treated to vast fields of flourishing yellow rapeseed. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are providing a gentle atmospheric soundtrack; the dog is sleeping peacefully in the back seat and we are blissfully unaware of any potential impending danger. Suddenly there's a loud bang and we loose control of the car. One moment we're hurtling along at 70 miles an hour, the next, we are breaking rapidly and swerving wildly across lanes. We finally come to shuddering stop and are now sitting silently in the middle lane of the M4 Motorway.
We quickly hit the hazard lights and try to take in what has just happened. The dog is now wide awake and looking as alarmed as I guess we are. Cars and lorries are zipping passed us as high speed, it's only a matter of time before one of them ploughs into the back of us. We try the engine, mercifully it starts and we carefully limp the car towards the hard shoulder. There is an unpleasant grinding sound emanating from the rear of the vehicle but we make it and turn off the engine.
We sit still for a few moments to gather composure; large vehicles occasionally rock the car as they speed by. I cautiously climb out of the passenger side to investigate the damage. The rear right wheel appears absent and the car is slumped at an awkward angle.
It's too dangerous to investigate any further so we make a call to the breakdown services and within twenty minutes a recovery van pulls up behind us. The driver gets to work immediately, we see him set up a couple of hazard signs and within seconds (with a small smile) he informs us that we have had a blowout. He explains that that he will just need to replace the damaged wheel with the spare one in the boot.
We stand on the other side of the crash barrier surrounded by the evicted contents of the boot and watch the wheel being expertly changed. The damaged tyre has been completely shredded; nothing is left but ragged rubber. A few minutes later we are thanking the roadside technician (that's what they're called) and then tentatively continuing our onwards journey. We both quickly agree, that from now on, all future motorway travel will always be conducted in the slow lane.
Posted: by Leeroy.