The Road Trip Accident Story and My Soon-To-Be Teenage Driver

by Lisa Douglas

It was summer 2007, and our (then) family of seven had traveled to the Tampa/Orlando area visiting my brother and his family and every area theme park known to man. Our Toyota Sienna was only a half-year-old and this was our first official family vacation we’d taken with it. Our intention was to spend half our vacation with my brother in Tampa, and half in Orlando, when the unthinkable happened.

It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, I remember, and we were all up bright and early getting ready to attend my brother’s church services. After primping and prepping with our outfits and hair done just-so, we packed our collective families into two cars, our beloved new Sienna and their sedan, and followed them around town as we navigated our way through the weekend traffic.

The road we’d turned onto was a bit of a mess, with construction cones and cordoned off areas, as the road crews were in the middle of fixing the road, but were off for the weekend. At a stop light, we sat beside my brother, waved to one another until the light turned green. We didn’t even make it through the intersection… BAM!

Part of the construction was a new median that was going in, unmarked, no cones, blended in with the road, and directly in front of us in the left lane. Hubby hit it hard enough to pop the tire and send us bumpily careening into the nearest side street to assess the damage done.

Popped tire. Bent rim. Hubcap gone.

Clearly, this was going to set us back in our vacation, as we were scheduled to leave Tampa to go to Orlando later that day. Thankfully, we were visiting my brother, and not on vacation somewhere in an unfamiliar area, because he knew of a reliable tire repair place around the corner that was able to help us same day. Many calls to local junkyards to score us a new rim, and a few hundred dollars later, we were back in business, with only minimal delays.

But that incident always had me thinking, especially with as many family car trips as we’ve been on in our lifetime – what happens when we experience car trouble away from home? What happens if something like this should happen again, and we aren’t conveniently close to friends or family? What happens if we need help?

Today, my oldest turns 16. Six-friggin-teen! Gah!

Of course, she wants to venture into the land of the driving, wanting us to sign her up for driver’s ed, all while my gray-hair multiplies like gremlins. But incidents like the above are always weighing heavily on my mind, especially with a soon-to-be new teen driver, who doesn’t know all the subtle nuances of driving and predicting other driver’s actions yet. I want her to know that help is only a phone call away, in the event the unthinkable happens to her, too.

Allstate has come up with a way to make roadside assistance available to you, 24/7, without taking out a new policy or switching your insurance, that’s free to sign-up and you only pay if you ever need it. This new service is available to everyone in the U.S., regardless of current insurance. This service covers any driver, any car, any time. No monthly or annual fees, ever. How about THAT for peace of mind?

Sign-up with their new Good HandsSM Roadside Assistance using the super-simple widget below, and  receive a welcome kit which includes a wallet card, key fob, and handy window cling with the number should you ever need to use the service. The only time you’ll ever pay is if you should ever need them. And by pre-registering, you’re providing yourself faster service should you need it roadside.

Want to sign up a family member (say, your new teenager driver, spouse, or aging parent)? You can register up to five users on your account and know you they are in good hands should a situation arise in which you or someone you love need help immediately. I know I could’ve used this service that summer had it have been offered, and I’m grateful this service is now around for my teenage daughter, too.

$50 Gift Card Giveaway!

To help celebrate this new Allstate program, one lucky reader will win a $50 Amazon gift card. To enter, tell me what your best piece of advice is for a new driver? Leave the answer below in the comments as your first, mandatory entry.

6 bonus entries for extra chances to win:

For 2 additional entries each:

  • Register for the program and comment that you registered 
  • Download the Good HandsSM Roadside mobile app to your smartphone and comment that you downloaded it

For 1 additional entry each:

  • Tweet about the giveaway by clicking this link and leave a comment that you tweeted (with Twitter username and link)
  • Share post to Facebook (through widget or copy and paste link) and leave a comment that you shared it

Winner will be chosen via on August 29th by 10pm CST.

Disclosure: I was compensated to write about Allstate’s new Good HandsSM Roadside Assistance, but my opinion and experiences are my own. I am responsible for all aspects of running the contest, but the gift card being given was donated by Allstate/Good Hands Roadside. No purchase necessary to win; odds of winning are not increased by purchase of any kind or insurance policy change.

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