The Benefits of Having a Large Human Chassis for Traction

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This is dedicated to my late father Arthur Knight from Cowansville who always drove the worst in Ford vehicles and went nowhere without a sandbag in the trunk in the winter.
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One snowy New Year’s Eve I remember leaving a dinner with friends that invited me to crowd into a Mini Austin for a ride home. It was not exactly an invite per say – it was actually more of a dare to see how many people we could fit into the “Cooper”. One by one we piled into this tiny car with me scoring a seat riding shotgun.

Since I seemed to have the largest “chassis” in the group it was only fair that I house a couple more people on my lap. There was no way in the world we would ever reach the Guinness World’s Book of Records total of 21. We had no super smart Malaysian students that had once figured out the solution and no one volunteered to sit in the boot of the car.

Packed to the rafters with 9 people the driver attempted to leave and immediately the wheels spun in the fresh new snow. We were all pretty uncomfortable at this point and voices of desperation start to surface to the top.

My father Arthur Knight who drove Pinto’s and Gremlins etc. most of his life always insisted that you keep bags of sand or salt in the trunk for traction in case you got stuck in the winter. However there was no sand or salt in the back end of this car, only a bunch of lightweights.

I sat in the front seat slowly losing the feeling in my legs due to the human load being forced upon me and suddenly had an idea. I could be the “living” bag of sand in the rear and hopefully that would help. After shouting out my idea everyone agreed and the doors opened with people literally falling out into the snow. I immediately got into the back end and the passengers reassumed more uncomfortable positions. With a huge push from a passerby we were off.

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The car swerved and slipped in the snow but, one by one we were safely dropped off and had enjoyed a life experience we would never forget. Arthur Knight’s bag of sand, who was really his daughter in this case, had saved the day.

I decided to look this traction myth up on Snopes.com and the page was completely blank. Had Arthur Knight had it all wrong? I found a few discussions on a few automotive boards and one man had this to say.

“So while extra weight generally improves traction, the only safe place to put it is in between the wheels. That’s why, for traction, we suggest car-pooling. In fact, when recruiting car-poolers, you could start by putting up a sign at Weight-Watchers.”

 
After more research I decided to go back to Snopes when I found another link about the topic. Again the page was blank and the lone entry was about a woman called “The Human Couch”.

Legend goes that a 500 pound woman had to be brought to the ER after she had experienced shortness of breath. While they attempted to undress her an asthma inhaler fell out of one of the folds of her arm. A shiny new dime was under her breast and a TV remote control was found in one of the folds of her lower extremities. Her family was extremely grateful they found the remote and the doctor said it was the first time he had found buried treasure.

No wonder it had been an entry selection when I typed in “sand weight and car”.  I sit here and giggle about what I have written and wonder if people reading this will consider my story legend or lore.  At least I wasn’t listed as “The Human Couch” because losing a TV remote is a felony I hear in some countries.

Notes from the Peanut Gallery
Sometimes I look at “it” and wonder if “it” has its own orbit. -Susan Saturn

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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