“Where are we going?” Every Jewish home on Chol Hamoed hears the constant nagging of children itching to drive off. Of course, by the time you decide where to go, it’s often late and you arrive just before the zoo or amusement park closes. But, oh well, as long as you got into the car and the kids dirtied the car with myriad snacks.
But what happens… when the car coughs or sputters, the tires squeak unnaturally or the key taunts you from inside a locked car? Interstate Chaverim is here to help you with all your roadside trouble.
What should I do first if I ever get a flat tire while driving down the highway?
Slow down, check your rearview mirror for oncoming traffic, and carefully pull over to the right shoulder as soon as possible. Never stop on the left shoulder or in the middle of a highway. If there is no shoulder, continue driving until you reach a safe spot or an exit ramp.
And once I’m at a safe location?
Look for the spare tire that comes along with your car. If you can’t locate it, check your car’s manual.
When should I call Chaverim?
Call your local Chaverim branch, if you are having difficulty changing the tire yourself because you’re missing one of the tools or run into to a problem. Of course, you should also call with any other roadside issues.
So where does Interstate Chaverim come into the picture?
You never have to contact Interstate Chaverim! If you are having trouble in an area not covered by any Chaverim organization, your local dispatcher will contact Interstate Chaverim. The Interstate dispatcher will then alert all Chaverim members on the Interstate system with your request for help.
How many members get the Interstate call message?
Many! More than 700 Chaverim volunteers from 20 Chaverim organization are on the database!
What’s the furthest a member has ever gone to help a fellow Jew?
Klal Yisroel is fortunate to have such dedicated yidden! We have already had members driving 3- 4 hours to help someone. But the idea of Interstate is to find a member that happens to be close by to the call. We have already found members that were just five minutes away in some far flung areas all over the US.
What if there is no member around in the area to assist me?
Well, a bigger chance is that someone will actually show up to you, approximately 75% of the time, we do find a member in the area to help out. Sometimes it takes longer and sometimes quicker. Even if we don’t have anyone around, the Interstate dispatchers are exceptionally knowledgeable and can likely guide you over the phone on how to change a tire or locate a close by tire shop, road service, etc. Interstate will guide you until you’re back on the road and will never leave you hanging.
Could I sign up for AAA when I already have a flat tire?
Yes, you can! You might incur a small extra fee. The good news is that many car insurance policies and major credit cards include road service. You may also call 911 for help since there are many highways that have access to a free roadside service program, which the police can help you with.
What precautions can I take to avoid road trouble?
Things happen to the most experienced drivers and luxurious of cars. However, basic maintenance goes a long way in avoiding much heartache. Here is a list of basic ideas: having oil changes on time, not waiting for the last minute to fill up on gas or to buy new tires, ensuring that you have a spare tire and the necessary tools. It is also a phenomenal idea to hide a spare car key somewhere underneath the car in case the key gets locked in. Avoid using the car for its lights or music without the engine running because it drains the battery.
What are some memorable calls Interstate received?
Interstate Chaverim handles many calls each day, and we don’t always get to hear the story behind the call. What may seem to us like a simple flat tire or lockout might possibly be a very major deal to the caller. Often, we get calls from traumatized passengers who have been in a car accident and need transportation to reach their destination. We had several calls from people stuck on their way a close family members wedding, or a levayeh, r”l. We once even had a Chassan and Kallah stranded after their wedding.
It’s unfortunately a daily occurrence for us to get calls from people stranded on a far flung highway. We once had a caller stranded for 36 hours on a holiday weekend with two blown tires and no open tire shops in the area.
Regardless of the call, we always try our very best to be that chaver in the time of need.
Wishing all of Klal Yisroel a Chag Kosher V’sameach and a safe trip.