It was on the driver's side, so when I pulled over to fix it I was frighteningly close to traffic. The breakdown lane was surprisingly small where I had to stop. My door definitely swung out into the lane.
I decided to put my bright yellow "emergency kit" box out about 1 foot into the slow lane and a couple of car lengths back. The yellow box would give folks a visual cue that something was up. Having it in the lane would force them to switch lanes or at least give me a wide berth. Or, they could hit the box and give me a split second warning that it was time to kiss this mortal coil goodbye. Their choice. Traffic was pretty light, but still unsettling.
Not that I needed the help, but no one (as far as I could tell) even slowed down to see if everything was OK. That didn't surprise me at all.
What did surprise me was the number of people who beeped their horns at the inconvenience of having me change my tire on the highway. I'm not talking about a friendly "toot-toot." I'm talking about folks leaning on the horn for about 1/4 mile or so as they approached.
Do you know how disconcerting it is to hear the beep of an oncoming car which is about to pass within a couple of feet of you?
Your car horn is not for registering your displeasure. It's for alerting the people around you to a dangerous situation. Like when someone starts to veer into your lane. The beep is supposed to wake them up. So I figured that people must be beeping because they were trying to get out of the slow lane and couldn't. Nope -- half the times that I did look up to check who was beeping, there was no one in the adjacent lane. Apparently, people were unhappy that I had placed my yellow box slightly in the lane. I was a little sorry about that, but I generally place considerations of my safety well above quite a number of other considerations.
The message was received. So here's a return message to all you folks who beeped at me on Rte. 195 between Westport and Fall River: next time I choose to have a flat tire, I'll choose to have it on the passenger side. And I'll check with all your schedules to make sure that none of you will be inconvenienced by it. And instead of my yellow box, I'll stick my posterior out in the lane and give you something to aim for. Look for the international sign for "moon."