I don't know much about cars, but I knew enough to pull over to the side of the road. I put on my emergency flashers, turned off the engine and called Scott. After talking me off of my panicked perch, I restarted the car. I was hoping to make it to the next exit (less than one mile away) where I knew I could safely park at the gas station. My car had a different idea. I drove about 400 feet and the dash started dinging and the smoke returned.
Again I pulled over on the side of the highway. This time I turned off the engine completely and called Scott, requesting that he send for a tow truck. (My battery was running low and I worried about using any of the remaining power.) Sitting helplessly in my stranded car with my toddler while waiting for the tow truck was one of the most frightening experiences in recent memory.
Traffic was whizzing by at 70 mph and only becoming thicker. Although I was on the side of the road, the shoulder was narrow and uncomfortably close to the road. I had no barrier from the passing traffic and I felt like we were at the mercy of every driver who passed. If one had not been paying attention, it would have been easy to strike our sitting target. (Incidentally, three marked police cars passed us in the adjoining lane as we were stranded on shoulder. For whatever reason, not one stopped to render assistance. I have to admit I was disappointed. )
Thankfully Scott was able to convince AAA that we were in a dangerous situation, and our tow was prioritized. Our anticipated 45 minute wait was reduced to only 15 minutes. With Timmy howling and the cars whipping by our window, each minute felt like an eternity. I was never so happy to see a tow truck in my life!
Timmy did not enjoy being stranded, but he thoroughly loved riding in the tow truck. He giggled and babbled the entire drive, squealing with delight as he bounced up and down in his car seat. I think I might have a budding truck lover on my hands.