Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
I will renew my Auto Club card with a happy heart because it saves money -- and more. (Always ask about hotel room discounts and retail savings.) Let's say you are driving back on a lonely road (maybe from southern Arizona early in the morning or on the road to Darwin, Calif., near Death Valley, where this photo was shot), going about 70 mph and suddenly, in the road, you see -- but not soon enough to miss it -- a piece of lumber. By luck (the driver would say it was his excellent skills), the car doesn't flip but one of the front tires and its rim are ruined. The Auto Club service responder probably saved our lives by knowing how to safely change a tire on a freeway shoulder. (We could not have made it to an exit ramp.) Resolution, Part 2: Always tip the guy who changes your tire. Be especially generous if he has just saved your life and possibly your marriage.