Steering Stopping Stability - red and orange sunset with trees

The sun had set, but the glow of the day was still illuminating the boulder-covered hills of San Diego. The orange and crimson tint had bled onto the now jet black rain-kissed roads, so used to being dry. I had reached the last climax in the rolling ocean of hills during my journey home. I now descended the last downward curve before reaching the driveway leading to my house.

I cast my gaze upon the heavens. The cumulus juggernauts that had laid siege to the southern Californian terrain just minutes before had ceased their onslaught and now broke formation and set sail for new territories. Their majestic celestial bodies took me back to a time when I lived in the Midwest as a boy. I would lay on my back and ponder the vastness of the world as I watched the clouds parade above me, a constant reminder of just how small I was. It was peaceful then, and peaceful now. Nostalgia, how I love thee.

Suddenly, the clouds were spinning. The world was spinning. So quickly from right to left. It didn't make sense. There was no hurricane. The feeling of peace and comfort having just remembered my place in the world sucked back into the dark bank of memories in my mind, only to be replaced by a sudden tidal wave of panic and a lightning burst of fear. The world of late sunset spring showers was replaced by a spiraling vortex of dark emotions in my mind. My body was thrown back into my seat by an invisible force.

Steering Stopping Stability - crowded highway

My Corolla had lost its grip on terra firma and was now spiraling clockwise, downhill and along the edge of a cliff. “How could this have happened?” I thought to myself in the hour I had to think. The hour of perceived time encapsulated in the two seconds that had actually elapsed for all other firmly-planted folk around me. Oh, adrenaline is magical! The panic was quickly replaced by the simple instinct to brace myself. For the fall. For the roll. For the crash. For the…

Steering Stopping Stability - trucks on road

Slam! The left side of my car hit the right side curb line and all the inertia built up in my motion and mass suddenly cashed itself in. Cashed itself in on the six inch curb built into the side of the road which – up until now – was less than an afterthought for pedestrians crossing the road. Now, this six inch curb just happened to take my life into its embrace and forgave me my mistake.

I took for granted the safety afforded me by car. I had neglected to care and maintain the unseen elements of my driving safety…because they were unseen.

Steering Stopping Stability - Nate and Kiel driving

The Corolla was my brother and I's first car. A 1992 Corolla now already more than ten years old: bought, used and well-worn. As far as two brothers were concerned it was a glorified go-cart with a street legal exterior. Our maintenance plan was to drive it until it fell apart.

Until recently, I was uneducated in the importance of shocks and struts. I just figured they made everything bouncy. As it turns out, there's a lot more to shocks than bounce.

"As long as the world is turning..." quote

Monroe Shocks and Struts has a simple and pragmatic solution to anyone who might not fully (or even partially) understand the importance of a good working suspension. The Safety Triangle.

Steering stopping stability safety triangle

This consists of Steering, Stopping and Stability. In my hurricane-like spin, steering was a primary cause of my dilemma. As I drove downhill in a turn to the right, my unmaintained suspension allowed my vehicle to roll excessively (lean to one side) to the outside of my turn. This allowed the vehicle's weight to be shifted off the even distribution center of all four tires…in short, reducing traction. As my wheels separated from their normal course and began gliding over the water sheen on the road, I was left without the ability to stop. My tires were worn and were as good as skis. My vehicle was no longer able to be stable (look at that…a rhyme).

Now that I am older, married and have three very important sons, I have changed my maintenance policy on my vehicle. I no longer drive it until it falls apart. Chelsea and I bought our first car together and take pride in maintaining what we're building together.

Steering Stopping Stability - in the driver's seat with the truck windshield

If you haven't taken a look at your suspension lately, check out The Safety Triangle from Monroe Shocks & Struts. It's a pretty simple way to get a handle on why suspension is such an important part of your vehicle's routine maintenance.

This post brought to you by Monroe® Shocks and Struts. All opinions are 100% mine.