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Old January 26th, 2014, 03:38 AM   #1
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What would you do if your car broke down?

Driving to yesterday's wedding I pondered on this - The wedding was way out of my area and fairly rural - what would I have done if my car broke down? My other half was working but even if she could have come to the rescue, the church was over a 2 hour drive, if I had broken down half way it would have taken her an hour to get to me.

My breakdown company say they will get there within the hour (Thankfully I've never tested it) but then I'd have to wait while they tried to repair the car) I suppose I could Google local taxi firms but that would only get me to the church - I'd have to do it again to get to the reception venue

All in all I can only guess it would be a nightmare!

Any experiences?
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Old January 26th, 2014, 04:35 AM   #2
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

It's happened to me three times, but never seriously. When it did, the first thoughts that crossed my mind were, "Call a taxi", "Phone a friend" and "Phone the bridal party, ask for assistance from a guest." I always make sure I've got contact numbers for a couple of people in the bridal party in case of emergency.

Only one of these was in an isolated area; the others were pretty urban.

1. Old car. Photographer was driving, en route to photosohot. It overheated. We waited, and then it was fine.

2. Same photographer. After photoshoot, drove off the road into a ditch that was a sharp enough drop that the wheels couldn't climb up again. Fortunately, a friendly passer-by with a winch rescued us (this was in a remote area).

3. My second shooter was driving, and there wasn't enough petrol in the tank. While turning into an intersection, the car simply stopped, and traffic built up behind us.

This was after the ceremony on the way to the photoshoot. At the time, I thought, "Lucky it wasn't before the ceremony." Even more fortunately, there was a petrol station downhill from us about 50m. So, we rolled the car down and into the station. Got to photoshoot, had enough time to shoot usable material, no-one noticed, bride loved us.

Then, en route to the reception, we went to the wrong venue (same name, wrong address). But I'd built enough time into the plan that we could correct the mistake and still arrive 30 minutes before the bridal party.

At least two lessons learned that day...
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Old January 26th, 2014, 04:39 AM   #3
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

I shot a wedding yesterday and this was on my mind too. I drove carefully there making sure that there was plenty of room around me. I was also conscious that a hard disk HDV recorder probably wouldn't appreciate a car accident.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 07:41 AM   #4
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

I don't exceed 60-70mph on the motorway and leave early and find a coffee shop or equivalent to chill out in (or even stay in the car sometimes). I regularly shoot weddings all over the UK so it's rarely local.

It's crossed my mind so many times, and I wish it never happens.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

Luckily my wife is usually home so I could ring her if I broke down. However that's only for solo shoots! If I'm doing combined photo/video then she is the exclusive photog so we naturally go in one car!!

I think the obvious is make sure you have a reasonably reliable car to start off with that is serviced on a regular basis and silly things like check fluids before you leave and, of course, fill up the tank!!

Friends could come in very useful if something goes wrong and is not fixable on the road. If I do distance weddings in our South West I make sure I leave really early and also sleep over afterwards (the bride pays!) I don't think any best friend would be too happy if you called at 2am after breaking down on the road after a wedding!!

Your transport is like your gear ... at least you mate can give you a ride or even organise a hire car or taxi but what would you do if both cameras failed??? It's unlikely as you keep them in tip top shape so it makes sense to do the same with your car ...we drive a 20 year old car that was only serviced 3 years ago with a teaspoon of fuel in the tank yet we spend thousands on our cameras. Worth thinking about ???

Who will buy a better car now guys???

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Old January 26th, 2014, 08:44 AM   #6
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

I drive a 10 year old car, it's a diesel and I have it serviced every year. I find it's more reliable on the motorway than in town driving ... Diesels are your best bet for long drives I would of thought.

Having said that, I definitely need to buy a newer car with more space in the next 2 years.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 08:48 AM   #7
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

This falls under the area of risk analysis which you should be doing for all risks in your business. There is a real simple process to follow. Make a list of risk items and categorize on a 1-3 scale of probability (low, medium, high). Next to that ranking rank the impact on a 1-3 scale (low, medium, high). Multiply the two rankings and if the total is 4 or more, develop a mitigation strategy for that risk. E.g. medium probability of car trouble x potentially high impact (you miss the job). Mitigation process is to leave early and have a "car failure process" that you follow when it occurs. This process helps with decision making as well. Often if you look at risk first you can avoid the arguments, effort, and cost associated with some decisions.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 09:07 AM   #8
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

This is a fear of mine. Luckily most of mine are pretty nearby so I could call a friend or famlily. My downtown center city weddings, which are quite popular I could just take a cab or the train. Otherwise though I think just calling the bride and being honest is the best bet. I'm sure someone like a friend, bridesmaids parent, or groomsmen would come get you, myb she could call the photographer or give you their #. Still though year I worry about this sometimes. Uggh way to jinx it;)

Last edited by David Barnett; January 26th, 2014 at 10:31 AM.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 09:48 AM   #9
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

Along with the usual network of friends, family, and cabs, we could always have a tow truck take your car to the town in question to drop you off, then arrange for rides with wedding party if necessary - which it might since our working area includes some small and relatively remote towns.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 09:56 AM   #10
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post

All in all I can only guess it would be a nightmare!

Any experiences?
It would be Peter, an absolute nightmare, but you could only do whatever is posible to rectify the situation. Much the same if you get any equipment failure, or a card malfunction, that only comes to light after the event. If we worried about such things, we would all end up housebound nervous wrecks.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 10:24 AM   #11
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

This is not a question of if, but when. When you are in business for a long time, something inevitably will happen. Flat tire. Engine trouble. You lock your keys in the car. Take the necessary steps now, while you can, to formulate a back up plan to every conceivable problem. You are a professional. Failure is not an option.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 12:39 PM   #12
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

Quote:
You are a professional. Failure is not an option.
What if you get killed in an accident on the way to a wedding? :)

We are only human and stuff happens, you do what you can to minimize damage but you can't have a backup plan for every imaginable situation, even for a "professional" things will go wrong eventually.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 01:38 PM   #13
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

Carry your important gear (camera, memory cards, computer, backup drives, etc.) in the back seat for better protection.

Last winter after we departed the ferry from Seattle we stopped at the first stop light. There are a lot of cars on the ferry and when they off-load it is a pretty busy, or hectic, time driving off. In a matter of seconds after we had stopped we were seriously rear-ended. It wasn't the car behind me that was the problem, it was the car that was behind her that didn't stop.

The driver at fault was looking at his map to see where he should go and didn't see everybody stopping. Why he didn't do this on the ferry .... who knows.

Anyway, we were returning from a family get-together and the trunk was full of my audio, video, and lighting gear. The B-cam was right against the trunk latch and of course the impact got it pretty good. The A-cam was in a Pelican case near the back of the trunk so it was more protected. However, the impact was really jarring!

As it turned out, the B-cam seemed to escape damage, maybe because it was in a padded case and maybe because there was a bit of clearance space around it. Because it was built well? Who knows. Maybe it was just luck.

Anyhow, the lesson learned is that anything that can't be replaced is placed in the back seat area now. If there is room, anything that is of high value is also placed there.

My modus operandi is to arrive early because stuff does happen. Running on a tight schedule only creates stress and that isn't good for one's health. Since I tend to keep the tank fuller than emptier that shouldn't be a problem, but sometimes there is a major accident on the highway and running on empty could cause a problem. In flying they say "trouble comes in bunches."

My phone is full of phone numbers so that isn't a problem, and if it was a gig I'd certainly have some names and numbers in my notepad and the main ones most likely on the phone. Some contact numbers at the venue should also be available.

Last edited by John Nantz; January 26th, 2014 at 05:43 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old January 26th, 2014, 04:03 PM   #14
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
What if you get killed in an accident on the way to a wedding? :)
Well, that's one situation you probably won't be sat worrying about afterwards. :)
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Old January 26th, 2014, 06:03 PM   #15
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Re: What would you do if your car broke down?

I am sad, I get three emergency numbers from the bride just in case. So taxi to church or prep when break down occurs, emergency number one drive me to reception, done! Gear always back seat, someone said rear car accidents? Wife second numbers , dad next, mum after they, brothers x 5 next, gods phone number but he don't answer ha.
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