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Traffic Talk: Trouble on the road

Don Gammill: Short trips need a safety checklist, too
By DON GAMMILL Published: March 25, 2013

Even the best of intentions may not be enough when you set out on a journey.

Try this one.

Circle all answers that apply.

A short trip in your vehicle can be:

• Promising

• Relaxing

• Fun

• Entertaining

• Educational

• Frustrating

• Embarrassing

• Expensive

• Stressful

Now, my story.

When I was a senior in college, a couple of buddies and I decided to travel to Norman one day to see if there were any job postings on the board at the University of Oklahoma that might show promise for us.

Riding in my wife's small mid-sized but comfortable car (and I can't remember why I had it that day), we joked and told funny stories the half-hour or so it took to get there.

We kept each other entertained with tales about people, places and things we had seen or visited through the years. Traffic wasn't too heavy yet and we were able to make our way across campus rather easily and found a place to park.

Inside the journalism building, we observed how OU had upgraded its writing lab with new equipment and were given a short tour by a couple of students and an instructor.

As had been true during a visit to Oklahoma State a few months earlier, staff and students were great hosts.

Both trips were learning experiences. Good experiences.

Until we got back on the road.

Heading home from Norman, we were now in rush-hour traffic on Interstate 35. My wife's car was not designed for that racetrack and those speeds, but we were doing OK ... until I heard a thump and felt the left rear tire go down.

I signaled that I was slowing and exiting the highway, eased to a stop, then turned the engine off, got out.

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