My first attempt at driving alone from my flat in the suburbs to my workplace in the city bowl proved to be a memorable occasion.  I proudly managed to get on and off the highway successfully and at the correct on ramps and exits.

The only trouble came as I waited at a four-way stop.  On an incline.

Let’s just say hill starts are not my forte.

I was in a queue of several cars waiting to turn at the stop sign ahead, and I stalled my car.  Couldn’t get it started again for the life of me.  Most likely flooded the engine while trying.

Eventually other cars started honking (excuse me, ‘hooting,’ as is the proper term in S’Africa), because they couldn’t get past me.  Then a kind man got out of his vehicle to try to help me, but I’d been warned not to open my window to strangers as a safety precaution, so I only cracked the window a sliver so I could hear what he was telling me to do.

Except that he wasn’t speaking English.

Finally an English speaking person stopped, and together both men pushed my car (with me still in it), through the intersection.  They tried desperately to explain to me how to start my car while it was rolling down the hill, but I never got it right.  Instead, I coasted down the decline, lurching my own body forward in an effort to boost momentum.  My workplace was in sight.

I got to the end of the hill and was still rolling enough in neutral to turn into the parking lot of my work, only for the car to come to a standstill in the middle of the entrance.  The parking lot was on an incline, and my little Jetta had run out of oomph.



31 Days - 2014 logoThis is Day 5 of 31 Days of Life in South Africa, where each post is written in five minutes.  For more five-minute posts from other writers, check out the link-up over here.



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5 thoughts on “coasting downhill {day 5 :: stuck}

  1. I remember being really confused by the four-way stops at first. There were several times where I either cut someone off because I took the wrong turn or I was too late and people were hooting at me. I hope you got the fun part of driving in SA eventually! 🙂
    By the way, I love your new header!

  2. The first ever driving lesson i was every given, the person teaching forgot to tell me one very important thing and that was – when you move that, take your foot of that and put your other foot on that the car will move forward – and so when the car did move i panicked and took and my hands and feet off everything, thankfully that caused the car to stall rather than keep going. I have never tried again.

  3. I have also,flooded the engine so many times, maybe you forgot to push the choke back in after starting from cold!

  4. Having worked in that same institution, I was wondering hiw you got uphill…
    Don’t worry, I stalled my car @ that same intersection a few times (usually when I was short on sleep), but fortunately got it started again each time, because my designated parking lot was right at the top! & I’m also useless @ hill starts!
    Looking fwd to the next post…

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