Van panic

On Saturday my bro-in-law Adrian and I were headed up to Coburg in a hired van. We were just getting onto the Bolte Bridge when Adrian noticed a warning light on the dashboard. We weren’t sure what it meant, so I reached for the van owner’s manual, which said something along the lines of:

1. Make sure the handbrake is off.

Well Adrian twiddled it as much as you can when driving at freeway speeds, and it was definitely off.

2. If the handbrake is off, immediately stop the vehicle and urgently contact your dealer as the brake fluid is low, which may lead to brake failure, your van crashing into something, and you and your passengers dead. DEAD!

Well, something like that.

Naturally, we panicked. I got on the phone to the hire place, and asked if the brakes appeared to be working. They were. Then they said to drive to their Preston office, in Murray Road. Okay. I hung up.

How do you get to Murray Road? Dunno, there’s no Melway in this van. Argh!

Rang my sister for directions. Got directions. Got off the freeway, headed for Murray Road. While at traffic lights, Adrian fiddled with the hand brake again, and… you guessed it, the light went out.

Blargh. So we didn’t die from brake failure after all.

I blame the indicator light thingy. Must be over-sensitive.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

2 replies on “Van panic”

I thought you were going to say it was because the van didn’t have an e-TAG.
I guess it’s usually a simple explanation.

We hired a car in New Zealand from a cheapo company and were halfway down the north-east coast of the South Island and miles from anywhere, when ALL the warning lights started going on one by one. Half of them had weird initials like ‘BLC’ and ‘AFF’, so we had no idea what it meant. My wife kept driving and we eventually nursed the thing to a complete breakdown 200 metres from the motel we had booked for the night. The local garage fixed it for us and discovered the brakes were shot too. Moral: when driving in remote mountainous country HIRE YOUR CAR FROM A REPUTABLE FIRM.

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