As luck would have it

Good fortune behind the wheel isn’t always dumb luck

Roads Report Article March 01, 2017
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David Matthews

Totally crushed

In the face of devastating misfortune, Georgiy Karpekin still feels like “the luckiest guy.”

 

One blustery day earlier this year, Karpekin was leaving Sacramento City College when he discovered that strong wind gusts had caused his truck to be, in his words, “taco’d” by a very large eucalyptus tree.

 

The tree scored a direct hit, crashing down onto the middle of the truck and reshaping its roof into the form of a delicious taco shell.

 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, when Karpekin got home he discovered that another large tree had fallen onto two vehicles in front of his house—one of which was his own car.

 

(Apparently the second tree didn’t have a taste for Mexican food, instead squashing the car into more of a pancake shape.)

 

Two vehicles demolished in one day by Mother Nature would leave most of us feeling crushed, but Karpekin wasn’t too shaken up, telling local Fox 40, “You know, life’s full of peaks and valleys, man.”

 

Karpekin said he actually felt lucky because he wasn’t hurt and his insurance company was going to cover all of the repairs.

 

An eternal optimist, Karpekin even rushed out to buy a lottery ticket because he was convinced that luck was on his side that day. (It wasn’t­—he didn’t win.)

 

Taste the rainbow

Drivers in rural Dodge County, Wis., found themselves in a sticky situation in January.

 

On an otherwise normal Tuesday evening, drivers discovered that a local highway had been covered with hundreds of thousands of red candies that, while lacking the “S” marking, definitely had a distinctive Skittles scent.

 

No one knew where the candy came from or where it was headed, but county road crews said the mess was really a blessing in a delicious, strawberry-flavored disguise.

 

Roads in the region had been quite icy, and the candy provided much-needed traction for vehicles.

 

Still, the local sheriff’s department was curious, and they later discovered that a truck hauling the candy had been headed to a farm where the Skittles were supposed to be cattle feed.

 

It turns out that candy makers have been selling rejected product as animal feed for decades. Imperfect candy is an inexpensive source of carbohydrates for livestock, which translates to better prices for consumers, especially when corn prices are high.

 

Many livestock nutrition experts approve of this food source as part of an overall feeding plan and also point out that it prevents the candy from ending up in a landfill.

 

Out of key

Sometimes bad luck doesn’t find you, you just make your own.

 

That happened recently to Ryan Negri of Las Vegas, an entrepreneur, investor and proud owner of a gorgeous Tesla Model S.

 

As he did most days, Negri used his cell phone to start his car using the keyless driving feature in Tesla’s mobile app, and then he and his wife, Amy, headed out for a scenic drive through the desert with their two dogs.

 

Six miles later, out near Red Rock Canyon, the couple decided to head back. First, though, Negri parked the car so that he could adjust the dog bed in the back seat.

 

He didn’t realize that once he stepped out of the vehicle, the Tesla would have to reconnect with the mobile app before it could be driven again, even though the engine was still running.

 

Funny thing about a canyon in the middle of a desert—the cell reception isn’t so good. 

 

And as bad luck (or over-reliance on newfangled technology) would have it, Negri had left his car keys at home.

 

Now stranded at the side of a narrow two-lane road with no way to drive their vehicle, Negri waited with the dogs while Amy (perhaps the unluckiest of them all) walked two miles down the road to reach cell service.

 

Eventually she managed to call a friend and get a ride home to grab a key fob that could unlock the marooned Tesla the old-fashioned way.

 

Negri is now calling on Tesla to help others avoid this situation by introducing a fail-safe method of starting the car even without cell service.

 

Fortunately, this solution already exists. They’re called keys.

 

About the author: 
Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.
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