How Grief Is Like Driving on Your Emergency Spare Tire

Have you ever had to use the emergency spare tire on your automobile? It’s smaller than your regular tires. As a result, you have to change your driving habits when you rely on this emergency “donut” tire.

Experiencing grief and mourning is a lot like driving around on your spare tire. Consider:

  • You have to slow down. The emergency spare tire’s label warns you to keep your speed below 50 miles per hour. When you are mourning a loss, you need to change your pace of life to recognize and honor your grief. Take the time to slow down, avoid making costly mistakes, and process this major life change.
  • You change your daily routine and route. Do you usually zip along on the freeway going 65 mph or more? You’ll need to change to a surface street to keep below that 50 mph maximum or risk the wrath of other freeway drivers. Unfortunately, many people try to keep up their ordinary routines when grieving. Pretending life is still the same after a major loss can be harmful to your emotional state.
  • You become keenly sensitive to your surroundings. Driving with one less-than-optimal tire, you want to avoid potholes or debris that may damage the only spare tire you have. Mourning is an emotionally sensitive time. Grievers may compensate by going out of their way to avoid situations or places that prompt distress. Some may quickly remove reminders of their loved ones, getting rid of clothing, favorite foods or other objects.
  • You recognize life’s fragility. Driving around with all four regular tires, one may feel in control and impervious to danger. Being aware that one tire failed, you are reminded that life has no guarantees. Grief and mourning remind us that with love comes loss.
  • You want to get back to normal. Sometimes, it takes a while to get a new tire. Drivers may become impatient waiting for the time when the regular tire is ready and installed. Mourners wonder when they’ll be able to feel “normal” after a loss. It’s a process to find a new normal after a loved one dies. Be patient with yourself and the process of life going on.

You never know when a tire will blow, and you never know when a loved one will die. Check your spare tire from time to time, to make sure it can do the work when needed. Likewise, tell your loved ones you love them while you can. Make peace with those against whom you carry a grudge before it becomes an unbearable burden.

As we roll down the road of life, let’s be sensitive to our fellow motorists who may be driving on their emergency spare donut tire.

Driving Customers to You – Your Car as a Marketing Vehicle

You can turn your vehicle into a rolling advertisement. Costs start at just a few dollars, and you can put your business name, slogan, phone number and web site URL in front of thousands of potential customers while you are driving along the freeway, stuck in traffic or even while you are parked. Here are some of the best ways to use your vehicle as a marketing tool.

Bumper stickers are so inexpensive that you may want to print enough for employees, friends, family members, customers and others. Publisher Susan Sabo of Small Dogs Press made bumper stickers saying, “I do bad things for love,” along with the Small Dogs web site URL. The line is from one of their books, and everyone who sees the bumper sticker wants one. Sabo sells them at her web site, and gives them away at book fairs. Of course, she has one on her car, and says she has given them to all of her friends, too.

License plate frames are a favorite of car dealers and auto repair shops, but they can work for any business. You can have them custom made with your business name or slogan, along with a phone number or URL.

Magnetic signs are an easy and low-cost way to put a lot of information on your car. Put them on both sides of the car, and make sure the lettering is large enough to read, even from a distance and when the vehicle is in motion. Personal chef Sue Gaughenbaugh added an effective twist to this idea. She bought a supply of magnetic business cards and placed them around the sign on her truck. When customers see her truck in a parking lot, they can pick up a card to take with them. Gaughenbaugh started getting calls from new customers within days of putting the take-away magnetic cards on her truck.

Vinyl decals and window stickers are a highly visible way to promote your web site. Put the URL in large letters across the width of your rear windshield. After all, you never know who might be behind you in traffic. This is most effective if you have a catchy and descriptive domain name. Custom stickers are available at prices starting under $20.

You can order many of these items from local printers and sign shops. Or, do an online search for companies that can create bumper stickers, magnetic signs, decals and other promotional items.

And when you are ready to go all-out, consider a vehicle wrap. These vinyl decals look like a custom paint job and cover your entire vehicle with bright, high-quality graphics. This is not a do-it-yourself project, but you can hire companies such as to design and install the graphics. At an estimated cost of $3,500, this option is much more expensive than the others described here, but it will certainly make an impression on the other drivers you encounter.

When your car is a traveling billboard, the time you spend in traffic will become more productive.

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