My fuel gauge gave me plenty of warning my tank was running low.

Nevertheless, I crossed the Mississippi River bridge, passed about a dozen gas stations, took my daughter to the dentist, drove to a restaurant and ended the day at a sporting goods store on Siegen Lane where it happened.

The car sputtered and the engine cut off. My three children gasped and looked at me with puzzled expressions.

My husband, who was talking to me on the cellphone at the time, heard the panic in my voice.

“Awwww, I can’t believe the engine just cut off.”

“Why? What’s happening?” he asked.

Nervously I looked at the gas gauge. “I forgot to get gas.”

My husband grew quiet. “How could you forget to get gas?”

“I don’t know. I just forgot. I mean, this is my first time ever running out of gas.”

Hadn’t that ever happened to him?

“No,” he said, and continued to lecture me about the seriousness of running out of gas and how it could damage the fuel injectors and cause a lot of gunk to get into the tank.


My husband came to our rescue, bringing a small can of gas to my van and filling my tank at the gas station.

“Don’t let the tank ever get below a quarter of a tank,” he told me.

I’d heard that lecture before, and couldn’t argue with the voice of reason.

However, let’s face it, who hasn’t had at least one bad day when getting gas becomes the last thing on your mind.

I asked a few colleagues about their roadside experiences. Had they ever run out of gas?

LaTonya was driving home around midnight and ran out of gas just two blocks away from a gas station. She had to call someone for help.

“Since then, when I see the gas light, I panic because I don’t want to run out of gas,” she told me.

Another colleague regretted giving her sister the wrong advice about whether or not to pass a gas station. When her sister insisted they pass up the gas station, she agreed with her. The pair ended up on the side of the road, gas tank on empty, she said.

A school secretary told me that while she has never run out of gas, she occasionally doesn’t stop because of shady characters who make it seem “too dangerous.”

There you have it. Folks all around are running out of gas or coming awfully close.

The next time that happens, this might just be a solution. There’s a free app at, which connects users to 20,000 roadside assistance providers.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at