There are two things I dread more than anything else when I’m on the road: a flat tire and a dead battery. The latter has frustrated me multiple times over the past six months.

Princeton Princess

The first time my battery died was when I was waiting for one of my regular passengers. I call her the Princeton Princess because I treat her like one. Because of this, she only asks for me – and when she is told I’m not available, she threatens to go to another black car service.

I drove her from Princeton to Manhattan for a hairdresser appointment. I was waiting for her in my SUV with the power on but the engine off. Big mistake.

After 30 minutes, I tried to start my vehicle to move it and only heard the dreaded “click, click, click.” The battery was dead.

I walked down the block and spotted a construction truck with a guy inside eating a sandwich. I sheepishly asked him if he wouldn’t mind helping me jump start my car. He said he had a portable battery charger & jump starter.

He walked back to my SUV with me and hooked up a battery pack the size of a sneaker to my battery. After a minute or two, he said, “start her up,” and my SUV started right away. I was impressed.

The best part of this is that my Princeton Princess didn’t even know about this harrowing ordeal because she came down 15 minutes after my jump start.

Trucker Boss Lady

I was parked in a passenger’s driveway, waiting for her and her son. I forgot to take the key out of the ignition when I turned off the engine and when she came out, my SUV’s battery was dead. Ugh!

This woman, who owns and runs a trucking company, didn’t miss a beat; she called her company and told one of her workers to come to her house to give me a jump. He was there in 15 minutes and we were on our way to the airport. She and her son made their flight, with time to spare!

Trucker Boss Lady was great because she didn’t complain or say anything negative; she just wanted to catch her plane. I appreciated her no-nonsense approach and that she was not judgmental with me.

Blinkers in a Blizzard

I took a ride in Newark during our early February 30-inch snow blizzard. I was waiting for my passenger in Newark. I had my hazard blinkers on during this blizzard.

My passenger asked me to pick up another passenger in Newark first and then come back for him. My SUV wouldn’t start because my hazard lights were on. I couldn’t believe it!

As luck would have it, a Good Samaritan was crawling by in the 20+ inch snow. I flagged him down and asked him for a jump. He said he needed to get his portable jump starter at home and he’d be right back

Believe it or not, he was true to his word! He came back and jump started my SUV with a small battery pack. I gave him $15 (it was all I had) and he seemed to think that was fair, based on his positive facial expression. I wish I could have given him more.

The next day I went to Walmart and bought a portable vehicle battery charger. I also keep jumper cables in my trunk.


The moral of this story is – especially during the cold winter months – always check your battery to make sure it has enough power to start. Replace your battery every five to seven years (depending on how you drive).

Also, make sure to have a backup plan; a portable back up battery charger and jumper cables will help you steer clear of the dead battery blues.

Article by RH Stovall, Jr

R.H. Stovall, Jr. is a Senior Executive Chauffeur, trainer and mentor for Royal Coachman Worldwide in Denville, NJ.

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