Driving on Fumes, or rather, NOT Driving on Fumes! My Life 09 FEB 2012

Heh, had to happen eventually.

Chantelle has an annoying (well annoying to me) habit of driving her Hyundai Getz around until the petrol warning light comes on, before continuing to drive with that light shining brightly in front of her for a further couple of days, before only eventually deciding to stop in order to put some petrol in!

Needless to say, this makes me very nervous, particularly when you consider I hardly ever let my car’s petrol tank dip below a quarter full!

Anyway, she always admonishes me when I tell her to fill up, so I’ve long since given up lecturing her and rather just make alarmed noises whenever I climb into the car next to her and glance over at her fuel gauge.

So the other day I arrived home after a long day of work, and after Jessica had been put down for the night, we’re sitting in the lounge on the couch and enjoying a nice cup of coffee, when she bows her head and shamefully admits – yup, she finally went and ran out of petrol!*

Funnily enough, it happened just as she was on her way to fill up at her favourite Caltex petrol station (doesn’t it always), with the Getz coming to a spluttering standstill about a kilometre and a half away from the garage.

As it turns out, you can’t drive for three days on petrol fumes alone after all!

Stopped at the side of the road, she had to make the trek through to the garage on what was a very hot and sunny day, where luckily for her, she found one of her regulars at the guest house had just signed in for work (he is one of the managers there). She played the damsel in distress and twisted his arm to send one of his boys back with her, armed with enough fuel to just get her to the petrol station where she could then shamefully proceed to fill her tank up properly.

Absolutely classic! :)

Of course, she is now adamant that the only lesson she walks away with from this whole spectacle is the fact that instead of being able to drive for three days on petrol fumes, she now knows that she can only make two!


*Strictly speaking, she has run out of petrol once before, in Sanbel’s old Volkswagen Kombi whilst driving a group of tourists on a bit of a Cape Town tour. In her defence though, Kombis don’t come with petrol warning lights, meaning she was caught unaware! (We’ll ignore the fact that she left for a sight-seeing trip when the gauge was already well under quarter!)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • My mom does this too with hers, freaks me out to the max! As she always tells me though: “you get the first warning light, then it goes off. Then when it comes on permanently, you get about 50km so don’t worry” 

    Tell Chantelle that and she can watch the odometer instead ;)

    • chantelle

      lol @ Tara, that’s exactly what I do! :) Once the light comes on permanently, I reckon I still have about 50km’s to go! :)