How To Get Your Car Out of the Mud: A Roadside Service Fail

Last Monday I went through one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had while traveling. In fact, I would say this ranks as the worst. Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea because this story is a bit long. I hope it saves someone from experiencing what I went through a few days ago on a long trip back home.

I’ve had car insurance and roadside assistance with the same company for over 35 years. My insurance company has always been the highest ranked company, year after year. The only catch is you must have a connection to the military to become a member.

They offer roadside service to their members for a super reasonable cost. It’s a no brainer to add it to your policy because the cost is nominal, just a few dollars a year.

Having been a member for the past 35+ years, I’ve had occasion to use their roadside service a few times. One time I had a flat tire, pulled over into a parking lot and they sent someone out who changed it. Their roadside service has jumped off my car inside my garage when I’ve been stranded with a dead battery. Once, when I was returning home after a trip down south, my car began making a very loud noise. I pulled off the interstate into a service station in downtown Atlanta and they towed my vehicle to a nearby repair shop.

So, all these years I’ve been laboring under the impression that I had reliable roadside service. It’s the same roadside service I purchased for my son when he was a teenager in highschool, and then later in college. I felt safe and secure knowing if we were ever stranded some place, we could call our roadside service and they would come to our rescue. I was so wrong!

After spending the Christmas holidays with my son, dil and grandson, I hopped in the car to make the long, 9-hour trek back home to Georgia. I started the trip out in a misty, yucky rain but eventually the sun came out and it was looking like a pretty nice day. Unfortunately, the good weather lasted for just a couple of hours and the rain returned.

When I was still around 2 hours from home, a fierce storm began to rage. It was raining buckets, the kind of rain that makes it difficult to see the road. It was raining so hard and the water was so deep on the interstate, I decided to get off at the next exit and give it some time to pass or at least decrease in intensity. I could see a sign for a Cracker Barrel ahead so I thought it would be fun to walk around inside their store while I waited out the worse part of the storm.

I got off the interstate, turned right and in a few more yards made a right onto what appeared to be a road leading to the Cracker Barrel. The road ran alongside a Mobile station. Just as I passed the side of the Mobile station seen in the photo below, I found the wheels of my car were stuck and spinning. I stopped and tried to back up, but the car wouldn’t budge. I tried putting it in reverse and then forward again a few more times. Each time the wheels just spun. I gave up at that point, hoping to prevent digging my tires in any deeper.

Car Stuck in Mud & Water


As I glanced around I noticed another car stuck a few feet ahead and to the right of my car. The driver had gotten out of his car and was standing nearby with an umbrella. I opened the door and reluctantly got out, immediately finding myself in deep water. The water/mud was over my ankles and flowed swiftly into my short boots. I didn’t have a coat on, it was somewhere in the backseat of the car. Within seconds I was completely soaked in the heavy rains.

I trudged through the ankle deep water and up onto the soggy grass nearby. I had an umbrella somewhere in the back of my car but it was buried underneath suitcases and gifts. Even if I had been able to reach it, it would haven’t helped very much because the winds and rain were insane.

The man with the umbrella walked swiftly over and started exclaiming loudly about our situation. He had a good sense of humor about it all and said, “I’m just a city boy and I don’t know anything about getting out of this,” pointing to his car and the large mud puddle we found ourselves in. I asked him if he had been headed to the Cracker Barrel, too. He nodded his head vigorously saying, “Yes, yes!” He was practically shouting because the wind and rain were so loud. I felt a little better knowing he had thought this was the road to the restaurant, too.

I could see his car moving back and forth, back and forth. He told me that a friend was inside trying to get his car out for him, and that he was more used to dealing with situations like this. We talked a few more minutes about how the pavement had appeared to be an actual road in the rain and not just a parking lot/grassy area. We were both amazed to find our cars stuck. I was shivering and miserable so I yelled out to my umbrella companion that I was going to call my roadside service from inside the restaurant and wished him well.

I headed out through the wide parking lot toward the well-lit Cracker Barrel. Soaking wet and still shivering inside Cracker Barrel, I called my roadside service. A recording answered and I was placed in a queue. Periodically a voice would come on and tell me that I was being placed on hold and that this would be last message I would hear until someone picked up. Oddly, every few minutes it would play that same message again. And again. And again.

After a long while, I asked the CB hostess if I could be seated. I ordered a cup of hot tea. I was hoping it would help warm me up a little. As I sat at a small table awaiting my tea, I looked down and jotted down the time and how long I had been on hold onto an envelope that was inside my purse. I wanted to remember it because it was so excessive. It was 7:08 PM and at that point I had been on hold for 29.35 minutes, almost a half an hour.

My hot tea arrived and it was too hot to drink, so I sipped a bit here and there as I waited on hold. I kept wondering how I would have felt if I had broken down on the interstate in the dark between exits. What would it have been like sitting on the side of the road for over a half hour, on hold in the dark? What if my phone had not had enough battery power left to be on hold for 30+ minutes? What was going on???

After another 10-15 minutes a person finally answered. I told him the situation and he said I would need to talk to someone else. After another wait, someone else answered and I explained my situation all over again. For a while their entire focus in the conversation was how far away from the road I was. I told them I wasn’t sure how to measure the distance but that I was right beside the mobile station that’s on the road, so just a few feet in. She continued to insist that I give her the measurement of how far I was inside the parking lot. I asked to speak to a manager.

After waiting about 5-10 minutes, another person picked up. I explained the situation again for the third time and was told they couldn’t help me since I was in a parking lot and not on the road. I told her that didn’t make any sense because they had changed a tire in a parking lot before and had jumped off my car when it was inside my garage.

At that point, she dropped that excuse and said they wouldn’t be coming out because I wasn’t covered for “recovery.” I asked what recovery was, it conjured up images of a car off a steep cliff or embankment or perhaps in a lake. I told her my car wasn’t off in a ditch or steep embankment. Actually, I think my exact words were, “I haven’t driven off a cliff into the Grand Canyon, I’m just stuck in a very large mud puddle beside a Mobile station. She never explained what recovery meant but just kept saying I wasn’t covered for recovery and they weren’t coming out.

To say I was livid is an understatement. This company I had placed so much faith in for so many years and have always used for my homeowners insurance, car insurance, as well as my savings/investments, had just left me stranded two hours from home, alone in the dark and the rain.

In case you’re wondering, this is what my insurance company states their roadside assistance includes:

Roadside Assistance


I hung up and stood there in the soggy grass and drizzly rain and just stared at my car in the dark. I find myself tearing up as I type this now, so many emotions coming back to me as I relive it all again. I know the water doesn’t look that deep in the picture, but it was just above my ankles when I got out in the pouring rain. I think some had drained off into the surrounding grass after it quit raining and during all the time I was on hold.

SUV stuck in Mud


I noticed the man with the umbrella was gone, and so was his car. His stuck-car-savvy friend must have finally been able to get it out of the muck. But now there was another stuck car in front of me, a blue van. I hadn’t seen it before. Had it gotten stuck while I was inside the Cracker Barrel or had it been there all along but just hidden from my view by the umbrella man’s car?

I could see a man sitting in the driver’s seat of the van and I could see at least one child inside…a young one that was sitting in a car seat. The man’s shoulders were slumped and he looked worried as he talked on the phone. I knew just how he felt, only I couldn’t imagine having a young child in the car while trying to cope with all this.



I was too mad that night to cry, I was pretty much running on anger and disbelief as I slogged back through the water and mud to my car and climbed in. As I sat there staring at the blue van in front of me, I thought again about the umbrella guy who was now gone. I could still see his friend rocking his car back and forth, back and forth as he put the car in forward, then reverse, forward and then reverse. He had been a lot further into the mud than I was and his friend had gotten him out. With nothing to lose, I decided to try the backwards/forwards trick.

I cranked up my car and slowly tried to back out. The tires spun. I quickly put it into drive and the tires still spun. Pausing only a second or two, I put it right back into reverse again, and forward again, then reverse again.

I don’t know how but miraculously the car began moving backward in a nice, steady roll on that last reverse. Keeping the gas pedal pressed in a steady manner, my car rolled out of the mud puddle. I was relieved and surprised when this back and forth trick actually worked.

As I drove away, I felt bad for the man in the blue van. I found myself saying aloud, “I sure hope you don’t have the same roadside service I do, because if you do, you’re going to be there for a very long time.”

Car Stuck in Mud and Water


Yesterday morning I drove over to the office of the American Automobile Association, better known as AAA or Triple A. I purchased their “AAA Plus” roadside assistance plan. They were so nice and told me about all the other services they offer including insurance, travel planning and banking. Before I left, they encouraged me to take any maps I might need or some of their thick travel guide books. I picked out a few guide books including one for south FL. I’d love to go back to Key West one day.

For just $100 a year, I hope I will never have to worry about being stranded and abandoned alone on the road in the dark again. Their Classic membership is $66 a year. I almost went with that but the towing was only for 5 miles where the Plus plan is up to 100 miles for a few dollars more.

Anyone else have AAA for roadside assistance? Ever had to use it? Please tell me they won’t leave you in the mud. As long as they’ve been around, it gives me hope they will be there if or when I ever need them.

I hope your holiday travels went a lot more smoothly this year!

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  1. Serena Talbott says

    What an awful experience! I’ve had AAA for years and have always had good service. That’s a smart trick to know to get out of mud or snow. My grandfather taught it to me when I first started to drive and I’ve put it to good use more than a few times.

  2. Oh, Susan. How awful, frightening, and frustrating that was. I think you ran into an awful storm driving back from there this year as well. Please consider plane/train alternative in the future.
    I had AAA for years, but then when I needed them, they abandoned me too. I immediately dropped them. Hope other followers have better stories.

  3. I’m glad your safe. My father was a mechanic who never needed any help ever. I’m 50 a mother of a10 year old boy. I’ve had statefarm, works forAAA, and a few fly by night company’s. if you get help or not depends on where your at and what else those company’s have going on/ wrong. My truck wouldn’t start , once on a trip to disneyland . 106 in the shade. The tow never came. It started after 4 hours by my shear will. But mostly AAA will come. You will need that membership card with you. I’m glad your ok

  4. Diane Garman says

    I have had AAA for over 50 years…I tagged on to my parents’ policy when I first began driving and have had it ever since. You won’t be disappointed. They are in every state.

  5. Guessing your issue was with USAA? We’ve been members since 1960 when my husband was in the Air Force. Have you called them and related your experience? Wow, what an awful thing you had to deal with. I’d be interested in their response.

    • So so glad you kept at it. I, like you, am shocked. We have always had great service from them but really upset that they won’t insure our home in Florida. We went with AAA and so far so good! They even have a free credit monitoring service! Still have a few policies with USAA, they just deposited over $400 in our checking account, part of their profit share!
      Love to hear the results you get. And I love your blog!

    • Yes, it was USAA…never been so disappointed in them in my life. Yes, I have talked with them and they are supposedly educating the employee who didn’t send help that night. They used to be a good insurance company but I know someone who works for them and he told me they are not the company that they once were. He said that’s why they now advertise on TV and have started accepting non-military because they are being hurt by all the competition in the insurance business.

  6. I love AAA! Have used them for many things and they have always showed. They always ask if I am in a safe place. It may take some time if I am in my garage vs on a highway somewhere.

  7. I’ve had AAA for several years. Haven’t needed them much, but they always
    came quickly when I did. And I liked that they phoned me while I was waiting to make sure I was OK and to reassure me that help was on the way.
    One tip I have for your situation is to put your floor mats behind your tires
    (or in front depending on which way you want to go). They help give traction and will usually do the trick. If it’s icy outside, I keep a bag of kitty litter in the car … that does the same thing.

  8. We have always had AAA and they have always been there for us! From locking my keys in the car while shopping at IKEA to changing a tire.

  9. What an awful experience! You must have been insured by USAA. I had comparable experience. They are notorious for promising something and never delivering. It is enough to make you want to change companies. I am glad to know that method of getting unstuck

  10. Betty Marie says

    Goodness! Now I just read on line the other day, to take your car mats and place them as close as you can to your tires and this should be enough to get your wheel on them to get you loose. I have never given this a thought,but now with what you went through, I will never forget to do this. Hope this helps everyone, and me if I need to get out of being stuck.

  11. Kathy Jensen says

    We love AAA. Had it for 35 years and always received great service…even when I left the car running with the keys locked inside! I hope you wrote a letter to the president of your other insurance company.

    • If you lock your car while it is running ( with keys inside) the police will
      always come but only if the car is running with keys inside. At least that
      is what I have been told…never needed to try that one…and pray I won’t!

  12. Ann Bailey says

    We have waited 2 plus hours for AAA. The last time they never showed up. We bought cars that have their own roadside assistance but thank goodness we haven’t needed them so far.

  13. Hi Susan,

    I used to have AAA but they left me abandoned too. I will never have them again! Sorry to have to tell you that. I could empathize with your situation that night. How frustrating and scary!

  14. Karen Alexviczh says

    Hello! I am so sorry about all you went through! I have had AAA for 23 years and I am very happy with them. We have used them for travel (both just maps and for vacation). I have had to use them a few times for a dead battery and they have always been professional. I made sure that my son was covered when he went to college, as he was going to be four hours away. I hope that you will never need them, but if you do, I wish you all the luck I have had with them.

  15. AAA has bailed me out many times through the years. I now have the AAA app on my iPhone and they were able to track my location from my phone when I had a flat tire. They sent me text messages keeping me updated on how long it would be before they arrived. Those text messages were very comforting as I sat waiting in a unfamiliar town. I’d never be without it!

  16. Susan your ordeal sounds like a nightmare! As a woman who has travelled quite a bit on my own I know how these things affect us. To give you some comfort I can say with all honesty I would never be without AAA. I have their top plan in place and have been covered for many years. Never, ever have I been let down, abandoned or so much as slightly frustrated with them. In my opinion they are AAA in their rating for service and customer relations. What you have done in switching and choosing them will give you many years of peace and assurance that someone cares and will be there. I hope they never prove me wrong. Glad all is well with you and hopefully you will soon forget the nightmare.

  17. Hi Susan, I am sorry to hear of your experience. I worked for an insurance company for 34 years….my suggestion to you is to share your experience with the Department of Insurance in Georgia. The insurance company will have a certain amount of time to investigate what happened and report back to the Commission and you. A manager or supervisor may listen to your call while they are investigating. Insurance companies are so competitive …..their exceptional customer service is sometimes all that holds their customers and keeps them from shopping. Love your site!

  18. Sorry to hear about your experience, Susan. That was just awful. I have AAA. I have had pretty good results with them. Sometimes it takes them a little longer than I like to arrive, but they do show up.

  19. Kate Cramer says

    I’m so glad you made it home safely. You are very important to many of us! You will love AAA Plus. A few summers ago, the radiator blew out on my SUV on the way to our house in Lake Tahoe. They towed the car 65 miles thru the mountains so it could be fixed close to our place. The driver was friendly and unfazed by the trek. And…I paid no extra fees! I LOVE those guys!

  20. I have been insured by USAA since 1977 but have never relied on them for emergency service. I think overall they are an excellent insurance company, but clearly roadside service isn’t their strong suit. Hubby and I have used AAA for close to 25 years now and have been very satisfied with their service.

    Sorry about your bad experience! How scary, being stranded, a woman traveling alone caught in a bad storm. Thank God you are okay. Blessings to you.

  21. So sorry such a lousy company left you stranded! I have had AAA for 30 years. If they’re not busy or you are not too far out of town they are usually prompt. They have rescued me many times. But they have also never showed up when I really needed them. Since they are the only game in town, I stay with them.

  22. Ren Jetton says

    I have had AAA for years and they have always responded to my calls. A few times, during holiday seasons, I did have a wait of 2+ hours. But they did come and fixed the problem both times.

  23. So sorry you had such a horrible experience. I worked for AAA for 15 years and I wouldn’t be without it. When I got my license my father made me join under his membership, glad I did and I’ve been a member for over 50 years. Glad you joined Susan, you won’t regret it!

  24. Judy Jaggers says

    I have AAA , have used it a couple of times. Once for a flat tire and once for a tow. They were very quick to respond and even called me back to make sure everything was okay.

  25. My parents put me on their AAA when I was 16. Decades later I am still with AAA. I live in New England and travel by car frequently. I have the better service that offers 100 mile tows.
    The only problem I have ever encountered was in a different state than I live. Each area has their own “local” car club. When calling the 800 number for service you must go through your local club. The local club will call the closest club who then calls the tow company.
    The only time I had a long wait was in Connecticut in a rural town. I had to repeatedly call and bug MY club to get a tow truck. They sent one from Massachusetts!

  26. I have had AAA for over 30 yrs. I locked my keys in the car at a patient’s home. It took more than three hours for them to send someone. He didn’t have the correct tools and it took him 30 minutes to unlock my car. I called AAA and they apologized and didn’t charge me for the visit but over 3 hrs. in a patient’s home wasn’t what I planned. Thankfully the patient’s husband was helpful in providing a flash light and use of his phone as mine was in the car.Other times they have come but it always takes at least an hour for them to arrive!

  27. I have had AAA for at least 45 years and they have never let me down. Once a guy recommended a gas station for car servicing; saying it was an honest, good shop. I have now used their services for over 10 years, as his advice proved true.

  28. Wow what an ordeal. I used to be with AAA and only used them once for a broken windshield. I never bought the upgraded package for the towing but I guess it’s a good thing to have. It sounds like you had a bunch of really lame people that were handling you that evening. I’m glad you rocked the car out of that situation- it’s a valuable thing to know. We use the rocking method for snow up here. I guess you won’t be forgetting this anytime too soon!

  29. I’ve had both good and bad experiences with AAA. It all depends on who is on the other end of the phone. Cross your fingers that you may not need them, but if you do that they will respond.

    Glad to hear you arrived home safely.

  30. So sorry to read about your awful experience. I have had AAA for over 40 years now. One time, a driver in back of me told me I had a flat tire. I pulled off the road into a closed store’s parking lot. I called my AAA and the woman who answered was so nice. It was getting on to dark, which can come very fast in the winter in Maine, and she told me to put up the hood and stay in the car. She told me to lock the doors and she would call me back. She did call back and within minutes a tow truck drove up and the man changed the tire very efficiently. I said I couldn’t believe how fast he was there. He said the AAA woman told him I needed help right then. He said he was starting to help someone across town who had a truck and he told that man he’d be right back. I was so impressed with AAA and that woman not wanting to leave me on the side of the road in the dark in not the best part of town. I will be forever grateful. I have also bought AAA as part of a Christmas gift to my niece and nephew for years. It’s a nice gift. I wish you well with AAA and I hope you never need to use it. Wishing you a joyful, healthy 2016!

  31. We use that technique when stuck in snow! Kitty litter under the wheels help too! :). Glad you are ok. We use Geico and their roadside assistance. My friend has AAA and after waiting 4 hours for them, we went over and jumped her battery.

  32. Hi Susan, sorry to hear you went through such an experience. I would have been crying all the way. I have been a member of AAA since I was a teenager, basically for 35 years and I have used them many times for roadside assistance. I have always been impressed with what they offer and have never had a complaint when I’ve needed roadside assistance. I will never be without it. Happy New Year!!

  33. I have had AAA for almost 30 years,and have been very happy with them! Keep in mind that they ( and any other roadside service) are only as good as the local people they contract with, and that response time varies wildly, for various reasons. I guess when USAA says roadSIDE they mean it literally!

    I am sure that you will be happy with AAA.

  34. Beth Leggieri says

    Susan, have been in a similar situation to yours, and yes, that anger was a powerful and necessary “fuel” on which to run while you solved that issue. I do want those readers of yours who are involved in an equine pursuit (hobby or otherwise) to know about U.S. Rider, a service I cannot live without. For women who travel alone, hauling horses, any kind of vehicle or trailer problem becomes exponentially worse very quickly. More moving parts–both mechanical and otherwise! U.S. Rider has come to the aid of many friends–in every kind of emergency–with speed and class. Policyholder coverages are wide and deep. I remain surprised how many folks involved in equine recreational pursuits are unaware of this service about which I can offer only effusive recommendation. And they “stay with you,” apprising you of estimated arrival, following up afterwards.

    • Beth, THANK YOU so much for this information! I didn’t know this type of coverage existed. We own a horse farm so my daughter is frequently trailering horses somewhere. This past summer she made several trips (alone) between the Tampa, Florida area where we live, and Georgia, hauling horses to be in 2 different movies that were being filmed in Brunswick, GA and the Atlanta area. (On those trips, her dad and I worried about her from the moment she hit the road until the minute she and the horses arrived back safe and sound!) Even though we have AAA for our vehicles, they don’t/won’t cover or respond to any problems with the horse trailer. (It was the same way when my husband had a boat–AAA would not cover the boat trailer.) My husband tries to keep the horse trailer serviced and well-maintained (new tires etc.) but even so, there is always that possibility something will go wrong. Obviously, there is nothing more nerve-wracking than the thought of the horse trailer breaking down on the side of the road while hauling a load of horses! I’m definitely going to look into the U.S. Rider coverage!

  35. That’s awful, just awful, Susan! I feel so badly for you (and that man in the blue van!). I just got my car insurance bill yesterday and complained to my husband that I’ve had the same car, same policy for 10 yrs, no claims, and my bill has not dropped once in those 10 yrs – time to shop around, just like cable or cell phone service! And yes, I’ve also had AAA since my daughters were driving. With used cars for them I never knew when they might get stranded. My youngest went to college less than 100 miles away, and we got the plus plan. We have used it, with success, and I won’t be without it, even now that the girls are out on their own. They (AAA) are good for booking travel, too! We bought our last set of luggage there also, lol.

  36. What a harrowing experience! So glad you are okay. We have had AAA Plus for years. It’s definitely worth the yearly membership. Recently our youngest daughter locked her keys in her car and a AAA serviceman used a handy little tool to unlock the door. The police in our city won’t unlock doors. A locksmith would have cost a bundle.

  37. Oh my goodness, what a nightmare!!!!! As a single woman I used to travel long distances to visit my children out of state too, so I can relate to your scary situation. I’m so thankful the “man with the umbrella” shared the bit of information with you. My only advice would be to travel only in daylight hours if possible; at least you will not be alone in darkness while waiting for roadside assistance!! Wishing you better travels in the future!!! 🙂

  38. Hello Susan, I too, am so sorry to hear of your experience. We have had AAA for many years and, while we haven’t had to use them very many times, we’ve always been pleased with their service. They came when my husband was with my brother-in-law and locked his keys in his car. (they always say you are covered even if you are in someone else’s car, and we were). The best thing was, we bought a membership for my son and his family for a gift when they were going to be traveling. My daughter-in-law was alone and traveling back from a nearby town when she had a flat tire. She called AAA and the first question was “are you in a safe place?” She told them she was on the side of the interstate and alone. They were there quickly and had her back on the road in no time. They were very concerned for her safety. I decided then that we would never be without AAA again. You will be pleased. Glad your experience turned out ok and you are safe.

  39. This summer we ran out of gas while on our way to meet relatives for our annual camping trip. We were on a major freeway in Wisconsin just a few miles from an exit. Called AAA and they had no idea where we were. How could they not find Highway 94 in Wisconsin??? We told them we were just a few miles from Black River Falls. They kept asking what we could see from our car. Pretty much trees, other cars and a barn. They were going to send us someone from Waukesha. That city was hours away!!!! Thank goodness my daughter was just an hour behind us so she brought us gas. AAA totally failed us!!!

    • KathleenfromCA says

      I had a similar experience last month with AAA. We have had AAA for 46 years. Used them when stranded in a parking garage, keys locked in car, towing (using our Plus card). I worked in Sacramento, CA for many years and was towed home from work (45+ miles). But, when I had a flat tire recently and could not tell them exactly where I was–they couldn’t help me. And when I called the hot line I had to listen to garbage (twice) and when you are sitting alone, in a disabled car, in the dark, you don’t want to be listening to recordings. I eventually was helped by a passer-by and my husband. Not driving that road any more. I also now have a portable power bank in case my phone runs out of battery. AND, if I had kept running on the rim I would have discovered I was about two minutes from the I-5. I told the operator I was leaving point A to get to point B and they couldn’t find the county road I was on. From now on I am going to be very aware of where I travel and not go at night if at all possible! Another discovery is we have 17″ rims on our car and the tire cannot withstand hitting potholes. This has happened three out of four of my tires (Michelin no less). So sorry Susan was stranded in a storm and the dark. I still think AAA is good. Probably the contractor was lazy; but no excuse for leaving a woman stranded. Actually, Susan is a super woman since she figured how to take care of herself!!!

  40. I have had AAA for over 40 years. Single women need AAA or a similar plan. I live in So. CA and have used AAA for a variety of reasons from totaling my car on the freeway to dead batteries. I would never be without them and I have my daughter on my policy. My friend with USAA insurance uses AAA also.

  41. Mary from Virginia says

    I felt sick reading your post! You poor girl! I think I would have cried right on the phone! I am glad you called back and I hope that chick who was extremely rude gets a huge wake up call and her walking papers, the karma boys is rolling toward her.

    My parents had AAA and they were left stranded on 295 in Virginia for over 5 hours, because Triple A said they couldn’t find them. A trucker stopped and helped them. Momma cancelled the policy the next day. This was 18 years ago. I hope you never have to use any one again.

    Good thing you watched the other guy getting his car out!

  42. Susan

    Oh my goodness companies have us consumers where they want us at times, we pay,pay our bills on time and its all fine until we need their services!!
    But Im so glad you are okay too !!

    Yes up North here we know how to use the rocking back and forth because of the snow it must snow driving skills class 101 , hehe.

    You be Safe ,

  43. I am guessing I know who your insurance was with! I have an unfortunate story about my parents, and so I have never used them… AAA has helped me many times and I would always recommend them.

  44. Oh Susan, what an experience you had! We have had AAA for many years and have been very pleased with their service.

  45. OMGosh Susan, that was a horrible experience! I don’t have much experience with AAA, but my husband got it for us because he was sick with cancer and treatments. He mainly got it for our college son with him driving back and forth from school to home. We have the plus membership too. Hubby passed away in Oct. So we need it even more now. Not that I don’t have 5 other son’s I could call on, but still. I haven’t had to use it yet, nor has my youngest son. Now I’m nervous after reading Debra’s comment! I guess nothing is full proof anymore. My reliable person is no longer here, so will just have to go it on my own or call my one of my other son’s if AAA doesn’t help me out. I don’t travel, so I shouldn’t have to much problems! I’m really sorry you had to go through that Susan, it just isn’t right. Hugs, Brenda

  46. Patricia Morris says

    Susan…I can’t believe this horror! Thanks for sharing. Let us know what company this is. After all, facts are facts and the way this company treated you is their fact, their truth. You have many readers and women have power so use it my friend. p.s.: time for a thorough checkup for the next big trip. Good luck.

    • They are excellent when it comes to insurance but the roadside service has been disappointing, especially on this occasion when I needed them more than I ever have.

  47. I am so glad you are ok. What a scary story. I also have AAA. I bought it when I retired. Our insurance has roadside but you have to call your own help. In an unfamiliar area it is difficult to know who to call. I’m hoping AAA will come through for me if I need them. I travel alone often. Kay K

  48. Hi Susan
    So sorry to hear about being stranded. I would have been petrified.
    We just joined USAA.
    But we also have AAA. Yes, AAA has helped us several times in the past.
    Locked car keys in car, flat tire, dead battery. Always with good results to get me or us up and going.
    I will relate your experience with USAA to my husband.
    By all means I would call or write a letter to USAA, stating just what you told us. No reason for that kind of customer service from them.
    Send them the pictures also.
    They need to know how you were treated and stranded to get yourself out.
    Whew ! what a relief came over you when you became unstuck and back on the road.
    As an old Irish saying May the road rise with you and the wind be at your back.

  49. I’m a novice with only 10 years with AAA but they have been amazing at a very reasonable price. I have continued to purchase policies for each of my children, which I started when they turned 16. We’ve called multiple times over the years for a variety of issues and have always been treated with respect, concern for well being, and prompt service. I think you’ll be very pleased with your decision, here’s to best wishes for safe travels in 2016!

  50. Jo from AZ says

    You should contact the insurance commissioner in yours state as another reader recommended. Nothing will get a company moving faster than a letter from the commissioner. The other recommendation is to find the name of the President/ceo of the company and call/write that person. I worked for a subsidiary of Nation Wide and when the insurance dept contacted us about a complaint or the President was contacted an immediate investigation was done. I was a paralegal in the legal dept so I am familiar with the process. I too am very sorry that you had such a terrible time. I live in Az and have AAA they have saved me – the only complaint I have is in the summer you do wait awhile the 112 heat does a number on cars! Be safe.

    • Thanks, Jo. I was thinking about that, I thought each state had a commissioner or someone like that but I wasn’t sure.

    • Oh, he also said that if I had had to call a tow truck on my own, they would definitely reimbursed that expense. I was thinking this evening, I’m glad there was a Comfort Inn across the street because the way things were going, I may have needed it although I was so angry, I doubt I would have slept a wink that night.

  51. My car insurance has towing for up to $75.00.. I wonder why you just couldn’t of called your insurance company and said you needed a tow and then when they got you out of the mud just say thanks that’s all the towing I needed and not of said anything about roadside assistants. Maybe that wouldn’t of work.. I don’t know for sure. Something to check on though.

  52. I have had AAA for many years! I have the AAA Plus but only cost me $89 a year. I have never had a problem with them. In fact, one time I forgot to renew my membership and 2 weeks after it lapsed I called and they put me back on and had someone out to help me within a few minutes.
    I would have collapsed int tears if I had been you!

  53. Susie Rivera says

    I’ve had AAA for over 25 years for both my home and car. They are excellent and their customer service is stellar! I am a 100 mile a day commuter and have used them a couple of times- always a fast response. You won’t be disappointed! So sorry for your experience 🙁

  54. Doris(Dolly) says

    I have been a member of AAA forever! My dad got for me when I was a teenager and left home. I am now a young 70!I have never been disappointed. We give it as a gift to our grown children(now) since they have become drivers. I never want to be without it. It doesn’t matter where you are…they will come and help! When my daughter moved to Denver and I live in Akron, Ohio, she called one day shortly after she moved there, she didn’t know anyone, two babies crying that her car stopped. She didn’t know what to do. Thank goodness she had AAA as they came, helped her, towed her car to a service place they recommended and took her home to get her husbands car. Didn’t cost her anything. All I told her is call the number on the back of the card and she would be safe. Whew! good to know! You will now be safe. I have a few other stories, but they were there! Enjoy the peace!

  55. Maureen Sheridan says

    AAA has always been there for me. I’ve been a member for 37 years. The membership pays for itself with what I save in discounts for hotels and attractions. Whenever I get my car serviced or buy tires, I always ask if they offer a AAA discount. If they don’t they sometimes offer me some other discount.

  56. I have coverage for my new(er) car from the manufacturer and they were helpful several times I had to call on them. I had AAA for many years and cannot remember a time when they did not eventually help. No company can immediately respond to a multitude of calls during a storm, so I have learned to be patient. Depends on the area and the number of nearby garages. I have a trick with AAA — I do not sign up for the year unless and until I actually need a tow/gas/tire change, battery charge; then I just reactivate over the phone. It may cost a little more because I don’t get the discount for renewing immediately, but it always is less than paying a garage directly for such service. Plus, I think AAA usually knows and contracts with the most reliable garages in the area.

  57. Susan,
    I hate to burst you bubble, but I am, and have been a AAA member for many years, in two different states. I have had two, no make that three issues, which AAA has stood behind, and made right, as best they could. I don’t guess that’s too bad in 20+ years. Let me first say that when you need them, it’s ALWAYS an hour wait, even to change a tire, or jump a battery, in your own driveway! Now that may be because I live in the Atlanta area and they get multiple calls and not enough service personnel to handle them all. That’s my best guess. The three issues I had was first My husband had a flat tire on the interstate and the man that came out insisted on being paid $50 CASH before he changed the tire. My husband was smart enough to get a receipt and we called AAA as soon as he got home and they immediately sent us a refund check without question and said they would take care of the service person. The second issue I had was a wreck my son had and AAA could not get a wrecker to come get the car. After waiting hours (!!!!), the police got angry and said they couldn’t sit there all day, so AAA told them to call whoever the knew WOULD come get the car and they would pay for it. And they did! It was over $400 to tow the car. And lastly, after locking my keys in my car, and waiting the hour for the serviceman to show up, he was crass and ugly to me. I called AAA and they apologized and again said they would take care of that service person. I understand that they contract with different independents, and they probably don’t pay them a lot for a service call, BUT they accepted the AAA contract, so they should preform the service. Now, I have had many pleasant experiences with AAA service personnel, as well. My biggest complaint is that it takes at least an hour for one to respond to your need in Atlanta! Be forewarned!

  58. Elaine in Laguna says

    Susan, I’m so sorry that this happened to you. So scary. In fact, I’m surprised that you stepped into the water and mud. I am a 35-yr Auto Club member- that’s what we call it here in So Calif. I have my daughter and I on the Premiere plan here. She’s 150 miles away from me. We’ve used roadside service for dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts for car and home. And I’ve bought 3 cars through the Auto Club. I’m also a nearly 20 yr Club employee. I don’t get good service because I’m an employee but because we’re all committed to the cause of helping members. The longest I’ve waited for service was 45 min during the peak commute. I know members have waited longer times in extreme weather conditions. I hope you’re never caught in a scary weather situation again. If there’s anything else I can do to ease your mind, please let me know.

  59. Been AAA members since we married 42 years ago because my husband has always traveled a lot and didn’t want me stranded with car trouble. Used them countless times over the years. But lets face it….every service has limitations….like the last time we were stranded it was a holiday and NO garages were open for them to tow us to. So we had to spend the night at a nearby hotel, thankfully, and they towed us the next day. It’s unfortunate that your service let you down Susan. My guess is that there maybe were so many accidents of a more horrible nature that they were just having to prioritize calls.

  60. Susan, everyone who reads your blog knows you are practically fearless when it comes to lifting, lugging, nailing, drilling and tooling! I recall watching CNN that same weekend hearing warnings about the dangers of driving through standing water – so that particular USAA representative’s nonchalance was unpardonable. For all she knew you could have been in far more trouble than you were describing. That being said, I can attest to sitting alone roadside in 97 degree weather for over two hours in Raleigh waiting for AAA. In their defense they have also bailed me out other times in a timely manner. Plus AAA travel agents are wonderful and very knowledgeable. Hedging your bets with both providers is probably a good safety net. Different areas contract with more or fewer towing services, and bad weather always stretches wait times. My worst/best story was getting a flat tire on a California freeway, hours from home, the day after Christmas, with my hungry 3 year old in the back seat. Literally minutes after pulling over the California Highway Patrol ( CHIP) pulled behind me like a miraculous guardian angel. He swiftly put my temporary tire on and wouldn’t take a dime! I could never grumble about my tax bills after that.
    Bravo to you for not accepting shoddy service and using your skills to put all roadside service providers on notice that women take their contracts seriously.

  61. Susan, I’m sorry to hear you had such a stressful event. It frightens me to drive in rain and always concerns me to out on a highway with any issue. I’m glad it was resolved and you made it home safely. I would definitely contact your plan and file a complaint.
    Thanks for the tip on how to get out of the mud. I would have thought it would just make it worse. Thankfully it worked!

  62. It is heartening to read all your readers’ comments. I am sorry you had to go through that evening. AAA is a good company and I usually just get the Classic plan. Now I am reconsidering the upgrade to get the extra benefits.

  63. As a 46+ year member (via husband) of USAA I must say they are not the same company today as they once were. Today they are just like any other large company and this is not just in the roadside assistance area. Last week I was on the phone with them 4 days out of 7 because “I” kept getting emails from them saying they were confirming that I had updated my computer preferences which I hadn’t! First day they said they were aware of erroneous emails. Second day had no idea what I was talking about. Third day (my particular favorite) rep wouldn’t talk to me cause account is in my husband’s name and he wasn’t here to give permission for me to talk to her……. My reaction is not printable. When husband got home and gave permission for me to talk to them (annoyed the H— out of him) I was told to change my password and I’d be good to go. Did that. Two days later, another email “updating my preferences”. Spent 1 hour with web support – FINALLY – trying to get it resolved. I was terrified that if someone had hacked my account and I didn’t notify them, I’d be liable for whatever might have happened. Sorry to go on so long but my point is, in the old days this would have been resolved with one call. Unfortunately, USAA has become any other big company. In total honesty I also have to add that three years ago when we lost a daughter, one phone call was all it took to notify all departments so we didn’t have to repeat details time after time. In that regard, USAA was superb.

    • What a nightmare, Denise, I’m glad they finally got to the bottom of it. I’ve noticed with so many companies, how the phone call goes and if an issue gets resolved quickly, often totally depends on who you get when you call. I just wanted to say that I very sorry I am about your daughter. ♥ I’m glad they stepped up in that case and you didn’t have to go through repeated calls.

  64. When you have an incident like this-you know its time to make a switch to another company! I have had AAA for many years and the peace of mind that someone will come-even if its a bit of a wait-is sooo worth it!! I have 3 grown-up daughters and get the coverage for them because I like to know that they have a reliable service to call if they have a problem!

  65. We’ve been with AAA for years and years and years. They haven’t failed us yet. But I will say this to those who have had bad experiences – they do use independent contractors. If those contractors are not as reliable as they package themselves to be when AAA hires them out, the situation needs to be reported. Thank you for sharing your dreadful experience with us. We’ve all learned from it. You are one resourceful lady!

  66. I have had AAA for about 8 years. I had a flat tire on I-20. My sister was with me, she had AAA and called them. It took a little while for them to arrive, but they took care of my tire. As soon as I got home, I called AAA and signed up. I have been stranded three times and they have been great. The first time my alternator went out in Augusta. They asked if I was alone and tried to get someone out quickly. They took me to a repair place and the repair place drove me to get a rental car. The next time I was in Eufala, AL on my way home from the beach. The person who came out called and found someone to repair my car even though it was after 5:00 and every place was closed. He drove my sister- in- law and I to a restaurant so we could wait for the car. He came back 4 hours later when the car was ready and took us to pick up the car. I would highly recommend AAA to anyone. After this incident I bought a new car!

  67. Susan I can feel your anger.try paying for car insurances for 21 years only to find when you get in a head on accident by an uninsured motorist and you seek medical attention because you have whiplash and a concussion only to find you have no medical coverage unless you hit someone.that’s where anger now takes over and 21 years of paying for insurance only to find you have been duped all these years.

  68. I’ve had AAA for probably 20+ years … fortunately it’s been used primarily for dead batteries and flat tires; actually it’s gotten more use for hotel discounts than it’s gotten for roadside service! One thing that gives me peace of mind is that they always ask “are you in a safe place” (are you in your driveway or living room, or on the side of the highway) and will prioritize their calls based on that situation.

    I don’t know it they still offer this, but in the past they would waive a part of the membership fee for GIFT memberships (don’t know if this was a nation-wide offer, or just my local Washington D.C.-area region). Every year I put ‘AAA membership renewal’ on my Christmas list, and someone in my family (usually my sister) purchases the renewal for me.

  69. Oh Susan, that’s what nightmares are made of……so sorry that happened to you……and so grateful you are okay!! Glad you got through to someone who matters, we’ll see what becomes of this. I know I would have been scared out of my mind!!! And you continued driving soaking wet, you are so brave!!!

    I live in snow country and am a single gal…….so I always have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, blankets and protein bars in the car, cat litter, and cheap extra car mats. The rocking procedure is a must to know!! I don’t have AAA, but rely on my car insurance, have been towed a couple of times and they paid for it. I am on good terms with my garage guy and he has a towing service I use. Also, locked my keys in the car while the car was running and called the police. They came right away and were so very nice!! I never had a cell phone before but do now and it is always charged up!!!

    My sister has AAA and loves them. Hope you get a nice apology letter!!

  70. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, so sorry that happened to you. I was so afraid you were going to say something like the umbrella man tried to pull you into his car or something like that. At least there was one friendly face that terrible evening. You know, in that relatively short span of time you know of 3 vehicles getting stuck there. That probably happens EVERY time there is a heavy rain. I hope you’ll call Mobile gas and report that issue as well (or the state Department of Transportation – not sure exactly where you were or who would be responsible for that bit of road) But I am sure that employees at Mobile have noticed this happening time and time again and it’s a shame nobody has taken the time to DO something about it so people won’t keep getting stranded there!

    Nothing like your situation, but over the Christmas break we had an issue with one of our cars getting stuck in mud. It just kept raining and raining, so there was no chance for the ground to dry out. After a few days I finally called our insurance company, which has a roadside assistance plan and in the past has always been helpful. In fact, I’ve had so much confidence in them that I have never seen the need for AAA (which gets mixed reviews here, I see.) At any rate, THIS time it was terrible. Terrible! So much so that I finally told them not to bother that we would handle it ourselves. After reading about your issue, I have decided to call my agent and report my experience because it certainly wasn’t good and even has me thinking of leaving the company after 25 years! Yes, the more we speak up, the better. Please do consider notifying someone of that fake ‘road’ so another hapless innocent doesn’t meet the same fate you did.

    And just to clarify, when you used the rocking method, you just barely moved the car each time? You didn’t turn the wheels or anything like that? Because that is a very valuable piece of knowledge.

    ((( hugs ))) for having to deal with those poopyheads and the whole big rainy mess. So glad you got out.

    • I think it must happen all the time because when they finally answered the phone after the very long hold, I headed up to register to pay for my hot tea. While I was paying for my tea, I was trying to explain to the woman on the phone exactly where I was stuck. I had given her the exact address of the Mobile station but she was going on and on about the distance the car was from the road. The woman who was checking me out in the restaurant could hear me and without skipping a beat, SHE started describing where I was stuck, to try and help me explain. I gave her a doubletake wondering how she knew right where I was…because the Cracker Barrel faces back toward the interstate and was a good distance away from where I was stuck. I have a feeling this happens A LOT and folks are usually trying to get to the Cracker Barrel when it happens.
      Sorry you went through a stuck car, too…especially at Christmas.
      Yes, I didn’t turn my tires, at least not intentionally. I just did the rocking back and forth thing. I think it builds up a small amount of momentum and that little extra momentum makes a big difference!

      • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

        I’m not surprised to hear that. It’s a shame the issue hasn’t been fixed. I keep thinking of people in a particular jam, like you, a woman alone at night or like the man with the baby in the car. All so unnecessary.

        Thanks for explaining about the rocking. That is good to know. Traditionally I have thought it would only dig me in further, so glad to hear it worked. Now, I know it will linger but I hope you can soon put that whole ordeal behind you and look ahead to the new year.

        I know I am looking forward to another new year of exciting things on the Porch. 😀

  71. Mairi Wannop says

    Interesting on several a UK resident, we annually shop around for car/ breakdown insurance..this is the norm to get the best price. This process means one has to examine the small print carefully including what or isn’t included. We are very familiar with tiered assistance for breakdown such as roadside assistance or recovery to home etc and other factors such as loan cars. Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

  72. Whst a nightmare. So glad you finally got out of that predicament. IVe had AAA for years…it’s the best roadside asst ever! They won’t leave you stranded. And their road trip Trio Tics are so helpful.

  73. So glad you were able to rescue yourself!

    We’ve had AAA for many years. When they are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad, they are just awful!

    Several years ago, we decided to take our vintage convertible for a spin into D.C. for a 21st anniversary adventure. We ended up with more adventure than we’d imagined. Just as we approached the beltway in Northern Virginia, we had engine failure. My husband was able to coax the vehicle down an exit safely off the busy I-95 corridor. We called AAA, but they couldn’t locate a tow truck. They told us to wait. And wait. Finally, after 3 hours, we were told that they were unable to send anyone. Keep in mind that we were not out in the wilderness; we were in the nation’s capital! And this was a bright sunny day in June- not during a high volume blizzard or storm season! The helpful roadside “assistance” AAA offered was as follows: If we saw a tow truck, we should flag it down, pay out of pocket, then submit the receipt for reimbursement. In desperation, we called another roadside assistance service company and explained our situation. We bought a year’s membership on the spot, and they rescued us 20 minutes later!

    On a more positive note, we were grateful that AAA rescued our kids several times when they were traveling during their boarding school and college days. As long as you don’t break down in Northern Virginia, AAA is just great!

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Margaret, what is the other road side assistance company you used? I ask because I’ve never heard of any other than AAA. Thanks.

  74. What an nightmare!
    We have AAA and love them. I have used them twice and was very happy with them. Once on the way to the hospital to my very sick sister I asked DH to stop so we could look at something at a garden shop outside for a minute. I left my purse and he his wallet and keys in the ignition. Our dog stepped on the door lock. I asked to use their phone and explained the situation AAA were there in such a short time. The other time I place my purse in the trunk and shut it. Keys were in the trunk I’m in Maine shopping and my spare keys are at home in MA. Called AAA and by chance they were right near me. The man was so kind opening my trunk and even made me a spare key to my door. Love them.

  75. Susan, Susan…I just wept reading this saga…probably dredged up heartbreaking incidents after losing my husband and driving alone at night, etc. Since I lived on a farm growing up, I am familiar with the “rock and roll” strategy you used…amazingly…a lot of the time it does work. It’s a “crap-shoot” on the highways and byways…thankfully, yours ended well…enough. Crazy when we “try” to live by the right rules, etc. (roadside assistance, etc) and the system fails. *sigh* Tomorrow is another day. franki

  76. We’ve had AAA for years. Highly recommend them. However, if you are caught in a storm, or occasionally very, very cold weather, or some such…the wait might be longer than normal due to sheer volume of emergency calls. Rocking a car back and forth, is how we get a car out of deep snow….and usually works unless there is ice! (Wisconsin). Glad you managed to get out okay….what a scare! 😉

  77. Susan,

    What a horrendous ending to what I hope was a very enjoyable holiday with your family. Years ago my husband and I broke down on our way home and had to be towed to the nearest garage. To say the least we really got taken for a ride on the tow fees we were charged. After that we signed up with AAA and after a couple years increased to the 100 mile tow plan. I cannot tell you what reassurance that gave me as I used to travel from NY to PA to visit my mother (young daughter in tow).

    A couple of years ago my sister and I had done a girls day in NYC (she lives in NJ and I in PA). We had taken her car into the city. When it came time to leave we pulled out of the garage and the car was making a strange noise and started acting up. Long story short, we were now stuck in NYC. Thinking we had to get a tow to a garage and have them fix her car then find a hotel for the night this was going to be a very costly trip. I called my husband to tell him I wouldn’t be home until at least the following day. He very calmly told me to call AAA and have the car towed back to my sister’s house. I just assumed that because I was not driving and it was not my car I wouldn’t be covered. Nope, AAA was wonderful. They sent a tow truck, got us hooked up and drove us safely back to my sister’s.

    So fear not, you are in good hands weather you are a 100 miles from home, stuck in mud or a dead battery (or in the company of someone whose car breaks down) AAA will have your back. I’m happy you made it home safely.


  78. Oh that was awful! I would have been scared and furious too.
    I have AAA…not the “extra” cuz I don’t travel, but they have come and changed a tire, towed a car, etc. They try to get there within 30 minutes, unless they are all out towing another car. Then it takes a little longer. If all you have is a flat and you have a spare….they can get there faster cuz they don’t need a tow truck. I have had that happen. So make sure you tell then you don’t need a tow.

    I have to say, my OLD car insurance, Liberty Mutual had great roadside assistance. There is a cost for each tow, but they come FAST.My hubby’s car broke down exactly 1 mile from home. The guy didn’t charge him!

    I now have that same car insurance that you do…the military one. I have to say they are GREAT when it comes to a car ACCIDENT. They give fair values, and FAST. I had my money in a week. TIP: keep all receipts for whatever you do to the car. I got MORE for the car because I had receipts for new tires, brakes, and battery. It was not a whole lot more, but it was more.

    In case anybody has a Pep Boys in their state…if you join the rewards program you get a FREE flat fix every year. (unless it’s an unrepairable tear on the side of the tire) So if you have AAA, and a spare, you can then take the flat tire to Pep Boys at no charge. In our house my husband and I both have the Pep Boys rewards….we had THREE flats within a few months on year. Yeah, really. LOL!

  79. bobbi duncan says

    OMG! This is NOT good, to say the least. I had a similar experience, but on ice, where I got trapped at the bottom of a hill on a wrong turn dead-end road and, then, could not get back out. It was in the country, with no homes nearby, and I didn’t have a cell phone back then. After several hours of trying and trying (rocking didn’t work in this situation), I was getting very cold and scared, and afraid that if I walked miles to the nearest home that there might be some lunatic serial killer waiting (okay, I know, but that’s how my mind works). Anyway, I finally worked the car VERY SLOWLY up that steep hill, slipping back more times than forward, but eventually made it out long after nightfall. It was a horrible experience, but it did teach me not to go out joy riding in the country in snow and ice!!!! I’ve always had AAA and, on the few occasions I’ve needed them, they have come out, but the wait was very long one particular time. I’ve never required their help when in the mountains, etc., whereby I was far from civilization, so I don’t know if they would be helpful in that situation. Plus, I’ve found that cell phones are pretty useless in remote areas, so I now bring food, water, a sleeping bag for warmth if it’s winter, and a slip mat that can be put under tires for traction, and keep my fingers crossed that I won’t need to rely on any of them. Hope that’s your (and my) only experience like that! Hugs!

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Bobbi, that sounds absolutely terrifying. I think another good lesson from that situation is to always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Dealing with an icy hill, out in the middle of the country, by yourself, at night … it’s the stuff of nightmares. So glad you were able to get out safely.

  80. My goodness, I know how it feels to get stuck in the mud like that. It is not fun at all, I have also tried the rock back and forth trick too and it also worked for me. I have had triple A before and they are real nice, the tow truck drivers were also very sweet and normally would evaluate the situation before helping but I have never heard of them saying No your on your own! so I think you will be safe with their road assistance. hope the rest of your holiday was wonderful.

  81. Deborah Jenkins says

    AAA has saved my bacon several times, not to say they’re perfect either. There’s nothing like being “stuck” with a broken down vehicle and wondering what to do or who to call. AAA works best in a metropolis area. Some of the reasons I got AAA- I was a night nurse and was afraid of being stranded, my children were notorious for locking up keys and getting flats. My daughter traveled to UT in Knoxville and thought she needed to know how to change a tire and I thought she needed to know how to call for help and not put herself in danger. I can certainly identify with your experience.

  82. I’ve had AAA for several years, they have changed flat tires for me more than once and towed my daughter’s car when it broke down, plus took her to a safe place. I’m so sorry your roadside assistance people were so worthless!

  83. I happened on your blog by accident and read your horror story. So glad that you were near a Cracker Barrel with a hot cup of tea, at least!
    I’ve had AAA for years, have called them a few times and never been disappointed. The most impressive was 2 years ago in Chicago, in a snowstorm, the temperature was well below zero and my car wouldn’t start. Fortunately it was in a hotel parking lot, but that morning there were many, many of other cars stranded in the snow and cold in much worse situations. The first thing the AAA dispatcher asked was, “Are you in a place of shelter?” They were getting hundreds of calls, and assigning priority based on the person’s situation. I had to wait a few hours for them to come, and a few more hours while they towed my car away, fixed it and brought it back but I was in a warm hotel lobby with free coffee and a TV; I was glad to know they were taking care of people stranded on roadsides in cars that wouldn’t start, with no heat, possibly with babies, maybe in dangerous locations. And, they didn’t put me on hold at all. Well worth that $100!

  84. We have the same plan as you and they have towed us at least 60 miles.
    Always here within an hour, very helpful and courteous.
    Have never had a complaint, thankfully!
    So glad you’re ok and were able to move your car and get home.

  85. Susan Jones says

    What a horrific experience! I also was afraid you were going to say umbrella man tried to grab you or something! One question I have is — did you speak to a manager or anyone at that Cracker Barrel about the misleading road? They should erect some kind of sign out there! It sounded like you are not the first or last person this has happened to!

    • No, but I was thinking that someone needs to do something about it. Not sure if it’s part of the Mobile station’s property or what. Maybe during the day and when it’s not raining, it’s fine. But it’s definitely a hazard at night in a serious storm when visibility is not good. I do wonder how often that happens because the lady who rang up my tea in Cracker Barrel certainly knew about it.

  86. We were coming home from an Alaskan cruise and we had a blow out late at night, we don’t have any rd side insurance☹️ Luckily the 2 couples with us had AAA but 1 was just the mile tow the other was I think up to 100 or 200 miles. They towed our truck home just because that man that had the insurance was part of our party and we were towed home without any cost. Today we have AAA insurance. I just hope to never use it. Sorry for ur bad trip home☹️

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Lena, your story reminds me of when we were young. We lived in Alaska and made several trips back and forth along the AlCan. Of course, this was in the late 70s and the road was not finished. There would be a stretch of pavement, then miles and miles of dirt road. Sometimes there was no road apparent. You could easily drive 100 miles without seeing another human being. I get the heebie jeebies thinking about that now. It’s a good thing we were young and fearless (too stupid to be afraid.) Don’t think I’d be making that trip today. At least, not without our 4 x 4 and fully charged cell phone. 😀 Thank God my husband is so strong. He had to literally lift the car out of the muck and mire a couple of times. Yikes. Never again.

  87. I am so sorry that you had such a frightening, frustrating experience. I’m glad you were able to help yourself and get home safely. As to AAA, I’ve been a member for decades with mixed results. I would say the service is better now than it was 10 years ago, but because they rely on subcontractors, response time can vary by location.

  88. Gracious Susan, what a time you had! We have AAA. They have been good. An option to the inconsiderate folks at USAA would have been to slog over to the gas station and ask the folks there for some help or call a two truck yourself. AAA and USAA call the local two trucks in the area and reimburse them the contracted rate. By the way dear one, how are your booties? How are you feeling? You drove, you got stuck, you conquered your obstacle, you shared a great tip in a fantastic story, you are safe, you are loved, you are a woman with the power to “take care”! Whew!

  89. Triple A is great. We’ve had it forever, have the Plus as we go back and forth to Houston, 50 miles away, often. New Year’s Day evening we’d been in Houston and were about halfway home when the alternator conked out. Good Samaritans got us off the road into a safe place, and the tow truck was there within 15 minutes. The extremely polite young man loaded the car on the back, dropped it off at our mechanic’s and us at our front door. We’ve had nothing but good service from them for over 20 years.

  90. Susan, I’m so sorry you experience this but I’m glad you were able to get out. I’ve had USAA for 35+ years but I’ve also had AAA Plus forever and gift it to my adults kids as well. Its so much better and more recognized for road side assistance than USAA. Did you know you can even use it when its not even your car but one you’re riding in that has broken down? USAA isn’t the great deal its used to be. My kids have switched to another carrier that they get better deals with.

  91. Love AAA. We have older cars and trucks and use them at least once a year. Worth every penny. I have bought a new car recently and still keep it and always will. Glad you are ok and all is well.

  92. Susan, I’m so sorry to hear of your ordeal. I don’t think this is really typical of USAA service! We have had them for the entire 35 years of our marriage and my husband “inherited” his spot with them through his Navy Captain grandfather, by whom he was raised. I also have AAA for quick calls (and hotel discounts) :). I’ve never (thankfully) had to use AAA but every time we have had any insurance issue USAA has gone above and beyond our expectations. If I were you I would follow up with them as they really value customer service! They may farm out their roadside assistance in different states and they will want to know about your experience!
    I would probably have been in tears long before my cup of warm tea came and I think you are amazing to have handled all this so well.
    (also, a little hint from someone who has been stuck in the snow many times: try sticking the car mats or a piece of wood under the tires. It might help but your mats will be a mess.)
    Happy New Year, Susan, I hope it is a wonderful year for you.

  93. Carol Mattingly says

    Susan, I have had AAA for as long as I can remember and they have always come out and changed tires, unlocked car doors, and once they even put in one of their batteries in my current Honda CRV and it runs like a dream so I would say you made a good choice. Happy New Year. Carol

  94. Cyndi Raines says

    So glad you made it out safe and sound Susan. The rocking method is well known to we who live in the north and deal with lots of snow –sometimes it takes practice, but you conquered. Bravo for a job well done! (And yes, it is very important to keep your wheels straight.) Glad you kept your head and yes, your anger probably carried you through. Thank you for being tenacious with taking it to the top. CEO’s need to know about such things because they really do matter. We (policy holders) ultimately pay their wages – ha. So proud of you! Trusting the New Year improves for you. 🙂

  95. Susan, so glad that the end of the story is that you made it home safely. If you lived in the Great White North as a driver one thing that you would be taught is called ‘rocking’ which namely gets you out of snow but as you found out, thankfully also works quite well when stuck in mud. Re the services of AAA cannot speak for the organization in the U.S.A. but if it is anything like their affiliate (the CAA) you will not be disappointed. That said; regardless that my husband is pretty savvy when it comes to the mechanics of automobiles, they have come to our rescue more than once. -Brenda-

    • Susan, after reading over the many comments about driving and recalling last year your area experienced icy driving conditions I am going to add another tip (regardless that one may even have 4-wheel drive). If possible, try to avoid coming to a dead stop and keep the wheels of your car ‘ever so slightly and continuously in motion’. It is some times difficult to do particularly if at a traffic stop, in a long line up of vehicles or climbing a hill but I guaranty it will prevent you from getting stuck or as we refer it to as ‘burning rubber’ … ☺. -Brenda-

  96. Totally frustrating and miserable experience. You clearly “Rocked” it! I’ve had AAA for over 44 years. Last year my car broke down at a rural hunting camp. I called them and they were there in an hour and towed my car 80 miles! They came the other day and jumped me. They have been a reliable help every time. I wish you the same experience with them, if you need it.

  97. Susan, thank you for turning your horrid experience into a valuable lesson for the rest of us. I’ve heard of “rocking” to get out of mud and snow, but never would have remembered if I were stuck. Your story is the wake up call I needed to make sure I’m better prepared for the unexpected. Thank you!

    P.S. AAA once helped my mother get her car out of the snow – then gently suggested she pull back in the garage…yes, she was in her own driveway -ha!

  98. Linda Louise S. says

    We have had AAA for over 20 years and are very pleased with their service. Never had to be pulled out of the mud but we’ve had a host of other problems. Sometimes you have to wait for awhile if there are many other service calls but they eventually come. Have it for myself, both my sons, and now I have put my husband on. We have Plus now but are thinking of upgrading to Premium. You get more miles covered under towing.

  99. Susan,
    Sorry you had such a bad experience. I should contact your old “only on the roadside” service company and see what they have to say for themselves.
    Word of mouth can motivate a business more than anything. You might tell them your readers are interested in what they will do to make this right.
    Maybe the blue van followed your trick and got out too. 🙂


    • Thanks, Rick. I finally talked with someone there who is supposed to be investigating this, so hopefully they will get to the bottom of it and some changes will be made. I’m pretty sure it took a tow truck to get him out, he was in really deep.

  100. Nancye Tuttle says

    Such a scary experience. We have had AAA for many years and they have never failed to pull through. I was stuck very late one night in Boston, about an hour from my home in the suburbs. Car wouldn’t start and they came out, very late, towed the car to a repair place in my neighborhood and gave me a ride to my front door. Well worth the $$ for the reassurance. Hope you never have to go through anything like this again.

  101. What a nightmare you had! We have had AAA for many, many years and when my young son rented a U-Haul and trekked from WI to AZ and had car trouble along the way; they let us add him to our plan and they were able to tow him to an auto repair place within 30 minutes of our calling them. We has used them more times than I could possibly list and we are very grateful for our membership.

  102. Phyllis Robinson says

    I think I know the insurance company you are talking about. I had them for over 30 years thinking I had good coverage on my home and when we had a small claim, they refused to pay. So, I dropped ALL of the insurance we had with them, car and home. I went with Allstate and they are great. My neighbor had a tree fall on their house during a hurricane and the un named big insurance company would NOT replace their roof, they only repaired the side of the house and re-roofed it. Allstate replaced my whole roof and all I had was a little wind damage. I am pretty sure I know who you are talking about because they are notorious for talking their way out of paying claims. I suggest you look into another company for your other coverage and count yourself lucky you found out about them before you have a major problem!

  103. If you travel in snow/ice or heavy rain in the future, you may want to purchase a large bag of cat litter to put in your trunk. It is inexpensive and comes in handy if you ever need traction. Just pour around your tires and it will melt ice, dry out mud and oftentimes get you out of a jam. Hope you never need to use it, but never hurts to be prepared.

  104. Being Canadian we have CAA – affiliated with your American AAA. Excellent services provided. These services are cross-border friendly. I’ve travelled to the US and used AAA locations for maps, ticket purchases, etc. If needed, road-side assistance also applies. The same applies for Americans travelling north of the border. You made a wise choice changing companies.

  105. Hey Susan,

    So sorry to hear about your experience. I used to be a member of Triple A but I always had to wait on the phone when talking to them. I found out about this app called HONK. It’s completely free to download, and you only pay when you need help. No membership fees or anything that ties you down. Anytime you need help you just click a few buttons and they send the nearest tow truck to you. They also have a lot of good car care articles on their website: I hope this helps and that you don’t have to deal with something like this again.

  106. My brother and i got stuck in the mud and had to call a friend to try and pull out out with their car, however the tire slipped off the rim aand now its impossible to get out without a tow truck, but they wont go get it unstuck for us because its where people usully go “mudding” but we just drove back to look at the pretty lake. Its quite sad since he spend such a long time repairing his car and whatnot. Its still stuck there, this happened about an hour ago. Nothing we try will work, and its really stressful. Although this doesnt have anything to do with insurance, i just felt the need to share my ” mud story “

    • Sorry you having to go through this, Sydney. I know it’s a helpless feeling! Definitely screws up your weekend, I know. Surely, some tow service will help. You may need to call around until you find one that has the right type of truck to help you get out. I hope by the time you read this, you’ve gotten it unstuck.

  107. Found your post while waiting for AAA to answer me. The answer is no. Even with AAA plus they don’t cover it. 38 year member and I am not happy right now.

  108. Davi Monahan says

    Sorry to tell you we do have AAA and our truck us currently stuck in the mud right off the road.We called AAA they won’t come apparently that is not covered so good luck with them.

    • That horrible, Davi! My renewal just came up and I didn’t renew because someone told me that USAA and AAA all use the exact same people when you get stuck, so I was wondering if they would be just as bad as USAA was that night.

  109. I have AAA plus. I called them, because my car got stuck in the mud in my parents driveway, who are also AAA plus members, because of the snowstorm. They were supposed to come out at 5:15, they came out at 5:30, and then promptly told me that I wouldn’t be able to get my car taken care of because the driveway wasn’t plowed and salted. I explained that was the problem, hence the reason my car was stopped. They said they wouldn’t do anything until I was plowed and salted, which when I told him if it was plowed and salted, I wouldn’t be stuck, not to mention the fact that with me stuck in their driveway, a plow truck cannot come through, nor can a sander. The guy repeated himself, and now, two hours later, I’m still stuck in my parents driveway.

  110. I’m a long time member of AAA road side service as well. I’ve also had them replace a battery for me and at least one tire over the past 15 years. Two weeks ago I hit ice and went off the road into a meadow of snow about two feet deep and was stuck. It was around 11pm, 12 degrees out with the wind blowing. I called AAA, told them my predicament and they said someone would be there within the hour. I was about 30 miles from the nearest two station and could see on the AAA gps icon on my phone – and he wasn’t moving. 50 minutes later AAA calls to tell me I’m in a chain restricted zone and they won’t service my area. I asked for clarification because I was unsure if they meant the roads where I was were under chain control or do they mean having slid off the road makes me in a “chain controlled” area. The roads that night were plowed and it was ‘chains or AWD vehicles permitted – I had an AWD vehicle. The person on the phone couldn’t clearly explain what the rules were, except to tell me no one was coming for me. I was about 20 feet from the side of the road – ten feet down an embankment and 10 feet out. Fortunately a passing motorist helped drive me to shelter about a mile away. The next morning I got the same response from AAA. Long story short, I was able to get another tow service from 35 miles away to come perform what is called a “winchout”. It took the guy about 15 minutes to pull me back up on the road by hooking a cable to my rear tow hitch. I had to pay the guy $350 just to come. It just so happened he was a AAA service provider and as he handed me the receipt, he said AAA will probably cover you on this. AAA has denied my request for out of pocket coverage with a rather vague and standard letter saying I went “beyond chain control”. There is a phone number I could call to get questions answered, but AAA only allows you to leave a message and there’s a 3 week back log (they say on the recorded message) to get to claim requests. The denial letter I got was not signed by anyone without a reply number or e-mail address.

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