Movie myth busted!

We headed out yesterday, after lunch, to pop in and see a few friends. The first couple are building a ‘tiny’ straw bale house. Taking advantage of a Polish law that allows you to build something\anything as long as it’s footprint is no more than 35m2 (380ft2). No planning permission required.

It is the forth such building that we know of in our area and it is always interesting to see how people deal with the restricted space available to them. Personally having lived in digs, bedsits and small flats for most of my adult life I’m happy with the space we now have, but I can see the attraction and freedom that is this type of building provides. I may try my hand one day, once everything else is finished!

From there we went to new friends, Jesus and Marta, to exchange some oats for wheat, we had some spare after planting and plenty set aside for our own goats. They needed feed for there newly acquired goats and had some wheat spare from there tortilla making enterprise. It turned out to be quite an eye opener as we realised the scale of the business, big industrial machines; grinders, mills, ovens, and most of it shipped from Mexico where Jesus is originally from. They are the only manufacturer of traditional corn tortillas in Poland and they supply direct to restaurants all over Poland.

We were treated to some traditional Mexican food, Malina was kept entertained by their three boys and it was almost 8pm before we headed off home with close to a two hour journey ahead of us.

Pottering along at around 50mph, the road twists and turns through the countryside, up hills with duel carriageways to let the faster traffic pass and then down the other side.

Now I don’t drive too fast, I don’t see the point, but you always pick up a bit of speed on the decent, dabbing the brakes to keep control, so imagine my surprise when the brake pedal gave under my foot and hit the floor! Immediately struck with the thought of all the movies I have seen when the brakes fail in speeding cars and my assertion that you should simply use your gears and handbrake to slow down and stop, that’s exactly what I did. From fifth to third, then second and first gears whilst applying the hand brake on and off and we came to a stop a couple of hundred meters down the road.

So that’s the movie myth busted, my work is done, although I’m not sure what happens if you are driving an automatic? 🙂


Author: Eddy Winko

Left the rat race to live a less hectic and harmful life. From the building of a straw bale house to the composting toilet diaries; read my blog

19 thoughts on “Movie myth busted!”

  1. I had the opposite experience once. I was driving on the highway in Kansas City and the accelerator decided to go bonkers on me. I had to brake often to keep from going way over the speed limit. Eventually, I just turned off the engine, and used the brake pedal to come to a stop on the side of the highway.
    I also had the clutch go out on me while driving on a rural highway in California about eight years ago. I was unable to change gears (manual transmission). Fortunately, there was an exit a couple of miles down the road, and a motel and garage there. It was hard keeping the engine running while going accessing the exit ramp and then turning onto the overpass road. We spent the night in the motel, and the garage fixed the problem.

    1. The sudden realisation that you are no longer in control is a little disconcerting, but the story or the events that follow are normally interesting 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the motel? 🙂

      1. The motel was fine, and we had a nice Mexican meal across the highway. I think losing the ability to brake a vehicle must be awfully scary, but you handled it exceptionally well. I would have also used downshifting, and eventually the ignition switch, to bring the vehicle to a stop.

    1. Cheers V, all good and back on the road.
      I had a laugh when the mechanic drove it onto the ramp as he shouted ‘there no brakes’! and hurriedly pulled the hand brake before he went off the other side. He thought he was fixing an oil seal 🙂

  2. That isn’t the old Merc is it Ed? If it is, a couple of whiteboards would have helped !!
    Glad you’re all ok.

    1. I’m old, your older and the old man is very old, the van is but a pup at 17 🙂 Still going strong, more pigs and goats than whiteboards in the back nowadays 🙂

  3. Very scarey Eddy. It happened to me in the camper. Fortunately we were very close to home and I was able to crawl there in 1st. On our way from Romania the year before last it was the accelerator pedal which went straight down on the floor in Holland. A great Dutch mechanic made a ‘get you home’ repair in 1/2 hour and we caught the ferry with seconds to spare (literally – the stern door began to close no more than 30 secs after we drove on). I think Petronela had a similar problem to Gosia.

  4. Two posts in two days. You spoil us…Mr Ambassador. (Remember that TV advert? )

    Glad to hear that you all safely survived the brake failure. That only happened to me once, when I lost all the brake fluid on an old Vauxhall Viva, through a broken seal. I was on major road, so drove over to the left, half-mounted a grass verge, switched off the engine, and applied the handbrake. I had to walk a long way to a phone box, to ring the AA.
    I now have a variable 6-speed automatic diesel. It has no selectable low range, just ‘D’. If that happened, I would have to rely on the very good handbrake, and switching off, to cut power. The other issue of course, is that the main brakes are power assisted, so losing engine power reduces their effectiveness anyway, as well as making the steering (also power) harder to turn.
    I hope the car is sorted without too much expense, or that you can pay in soaps!
    As ever, Pete.

    1. I think we owe he mechanic a box of Farrero Rocher! We managed to crawl the van to a garage, they ordered parts (new brake lines) , which arrived at 2pm, job complete by 4pm, Gosia has gone to pick it up, total cost £40. I can live with that 🙂 Our regular mechanic told us the brake lines needed replacing six months ago when he fixed an oil seal, but after three attempts to book it in it slipped. Note to self, listen to the mechanic and don’t take no for an answer!

  5. Automatic also have lower gears and parking brakes (either hand or foot activated).

    Movies need lots of drama, hence no way to stop . . . you just die.

    One other thing . . . having worked in the auto industry, I’ve run across lawsuits where people charged “runaway engines” (unintended acceleration – in my opinion, invariably user error) . . . but, you can switch off engines and/or put the car in neutral.

    Generally, people panic; glad to read you reasoned it out and were able to stop.

    1. Keep calm and carry on, as they say! I felt ok about the whole thing, but then I noticed Gosia had not taken it so well, the movies having fuelled her imagination of what could happen and I had a second situation to deal with. But all home safe, if later than planned and the van in the garage for repair this morning, having parked it up in a safe spot last night.
      Hollywood, pah!

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