Jumper Cables: A Lesson in Preparedness 

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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The hopeless feeling that rushes through you while turning the car key and hearing nothing is universal. Folks with a few miles more experience than a beginner driver know it can be easily remedied. I normally carry jumper cables or a jump box in my truck for just the occasion. What used to be cause for concern is now just an excuse to pop the hood and act like I know more about cars than I actually do. Unfortunately, I was driving my wife’s vehicle instead of my truck on Saturday evening. 

With the amount of miles on my truck, I know to be ready for everything. My constant companion is a dedicated toolbox with basic supplies to make a stranded vehicle a working vehicle. Nothing is worse than being out of cell phone signal, on a dirt road miles from pavement, with a dead truck. 

My wife’s vehicle has considerably fewer miles and wear and tear than my truck. I know I should have the same basic vehicle maintenance supplies in every vehicle, but the reminder to get my wife a jump box and jumper cables was way down on the list. If a car is made within the decade, I tend to forget it can break down. 

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On our date night, we took my wife’s vehicle for dinner in downtown Greenville. After a great dinner, we walked to the car, and got in, and nothing happened when I pressed the ignition. Immediately, getting a jump box for the car jumped to the top of the to-do list. Checking for jumper cables was difficult because the trunk only opened due to non-existent battery power. The hopeless feeling was creeping in as I popped the hood. 

“Hey!” I thought, “We are in Greenville. Someone will see us with a popped hood and ask if we need help.” I was born and raised in Greenville. On a Saturday night, seeing someone who needed a jump was the dream of any high school or college-aged kid. We waited ten minutes without an offer to people driving in and out of the lot. 

I thought it was strange and called a service through my insurance, which gave me a thirty-minute wait time. I figured I could cancel when someone eventually saw the hood up and asked for help. I know you can’t be too careful these days, but a woman in a sundress and a man in a button-up polo and boat shoes seem like a safe bet of someone who isn’t going to rob you. 

Thirty minutes passed and the insurance people showed up and jumped our car. I was thankful to the man, but still in disbelief that I waited 45 minutes in my hometown with my hood up and no one asked for help. I know we are having an influx of newcomers to the Dark Corner, so let me offer some advice: always carry jumper cables or a jump box, and always check on a neighbor in need.