Tag Archives: Car Preparedness

  • How to Escape a Sinking Car

    A Massachusetts woman made an unexpected 9-1-1 call on December 14th when she swerved to avoid a head-on collision and her car careened into a river.

    Debora Wrigley Dooley called for help when she realized the water was too fast and deep for her to save herself. The water was high enough to partially fill the car, but not high enough that Debora was in immediate danger of drowning. Rescue crews arrived within 4 minutes, and the current had already swept the car 150 yards downstream. Rescuers were able to quickly retrieve Debora from the car without serious injury.

    An average of 300 Americans die each year in submerged cars. In her particular situation, Debora did the right thing by staying where she was and calling 9-1-1. But what if she had driven into a deep lake, instead, and started to sink?

    In water deep enough to engulf a car, experts suggest leaving your phone behind and saving yourself. And you may be surprised to hear that the previously popular method of waiting for the water pressure to equalize, then opening the door, is no longer the suggested escape method. So, would you know what to do? If not, read on, because a few simple tips can make a world of difference.

     

    How to Escape a Sinking Car

    You have about one minute to escape a car that has fallen or driven into deep water. Dr. Gordon Geisbrecht of the University of Manitoba has performed over 80 test vehicle submersions. He says performing these four steps in quick succession gives you the best chance of escape:

    How to Escape a Sinking Car

    Let’s look at each step in more detail:

    Seatbelt – Once your car hits the water, remove your seatbelt as quickly as possible—just don’t remove it before hitting the water. According to the Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands, around half of the injuries in car submersion accidents are due to injury, not drowning. Give yourself the best chances of survival by always wearing a seatbelt, then unbuckling quickly once you hit the water.

    Window – There are two potential options here:

    Roll down your window. The back window is ideal, but side windows will work fine if the back window doesn’t or won’t go down. If there are multiple people in the car, have everyone roll down and escape via their own window if possible.

    Break the window. If your window won’t roll down, you’ll need to break it. Have a center punch or window spike in the car for this purpose, and keep it easily and immediately accessible.

    Children – If there are kids in the car not old enough to unbuckle themselves or who can’t swim, help them get out first by pushing them out the windows (they may not be strong enough to push against the flow of water without help). If there’s another adult or an older child, hand kids who can’t swim out the window to them.

    Out – Get out of the car as fast as you can. Don’t reach for your phone or other valuables, and be ready to push against the current that’s rushing in through the window.

     

    See the steps in action:

     

    And check out Richard Hammond from Top Gear testing “get out fast” versus the outdated “wait for the pressure to equalize” course of action:

    So, next time someone shares the “wait for the pressure to equalize” bit, go ahead and correct them using Dr. Geisbrecht’s tips and these videos. Knowing the info can save your own life. Sharing the info can save even more.

    Here’s to knowing what to do, but hoping you never have to put it to use.

    --Sarah

     

    Sources:

    https://gma.yahoo.com/massachusetts-woman-rescued-car-plunges-river-153438485--abc-news-topstories.html. Accessed 12-16-14.
    http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/kinrec/about/giesbrecht_faqs.html#sinking. Accessed 12-16-14.
    http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/UK/FS_Cars_in_water.pdf. Accessed 12/16/14.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, Current Events, Car Preparedness

  • Winter Driving Tips that May Save your Life

    |3 COMMENT(S)

    Winter driving tips that may save your life

    Quite frankly, winter driving can be a pain in the neck.  The conditions can make the road dangerous and your car may not respond the way it does in warmer weather. On icy roads, everything takes longer to do safely—starting, stopping, and making turns. Here are some winter driving tips to help you stay safe on the road:

     

    Learn How to Drive Safely in Snow

      • Don’t pass snowplows or sanding trucks—even if they’re slow.
      • Don’t tailgate! Leave extra room between vehicles and avoid pulling right in front of another vehicle; the driver may not be able to brake quickly enough to let you in.
      • Do everything gently—do not over-steer, stomp your brakes, or try to accelerate quickly from a stop. Overreacting can easily send your car out of control.
      • Do not use cruise control in areas where an unexpected patch of ice might cause you to tap your brake; you could spin out of control. Never “pump” anti-lock brakes.
      • Swirling, blowing snow on the highway can be disorienting; slow down and watch for cars drifting into your lane. Turn on your low-beam lights so other drivers can see you. During daylight hours, polarized sunglasses may help you see better.

     

    Learn What to Do if You’re Stuck in Snow or Ice

      • If you get stuck in snow, don’t sit spinning your wheels—that just gets you in deeper. DO turn wheels from side to side if possible, use your emergency folding shovel to dig out around your tires, and pour kitty litter, sand, salt, or gravel in the path of the tires to give them traction. When you feel your tires beginning to catch, accelerate slowly to ease your vehicle out.
      • If you can’t get your car out, stay put, only getting out occasionally to clear snow from your tailpipe so that you can safely run your heater from time to time. Call for help and try to identify your location. Flares and reflective triangles may signal other drivers to help you—or at least avoid hitting you! A red cloth hanging out the driver’s window is a signal for help.
      • If the roads are icy, drive very slowly. It takes at least twice as long to stop on ice as on dry pavement—and a whopping nine times as long to stop on black ice as on dry pavement!
      • Bridges and overpasses ice up more quickly than regular roadways. Be aware that black ice (sometimes called “clear ice”) often just looks like wet pavement; it also lurks in tunnels or on roadways close to bodies of water.
      • NEVER assume that a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle can safely negotiate icy roads at normal speeds. Ice is no respecter of vehicles!

     

    We hope you get where you're going safe and sound—no matter what weather you may face on the roads.

     

    Also, don’t forget to store an emergency kit in your car. Check out our Insight articles, "Baby Steps: Time to Winterize your Grab and go Bag” and “How to Winterize your Car” for more winter safety and preparedness tips.

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/way_5157139_safety-tips-winter-driving.html

    www.DMV.org

    www.osha.gov/Publication/SafeDriving.pdf

    www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/snow.html

    www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/WinterDrivingTips2012

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Winter driving, Survival, preparedness, Winter, Car Preparedness, skills

  • Pennies for Prepping: January 2013 Results

    |5 COMMENT(S)

    Hi, friends!
    How did January go for you? Did you save any pennies towards prepping gear or food storage?
    I started off with the existing spare change I had in my jar and spent this month adding my leftover cash to it. There wasn't much to spare this month, but here’s the breakdown:

     

    Starting Balance (what was already in the change jar): $5.48
    What I added in Janurary: $2.22
    New Total: $7.70

     

    So, with $7.70 available to spend on preps, I decided to get some things that I’ve been meaning to buy for a while:
    First, I got an SOS 3600-calorie food ration bar to put in my car emergency kit. I’ve got a whole car kit put together, but until now I’ve just had some granola bars in there—which is better than nothing, but not great.
    The SOS bar will stay safe and edible even in extreme temperatures, so I can leave it in my car during the freezing Utah winters and hot Utah summers and it will still be in good condition if I ever need it. It provides one person with 1200 calories per day for three days.
     
    I also got two single-dose packets of Burn Free Gel. I love this stuff. I got a terrible sunburn a few years ago (when I thought sunscreen was lame—little did I know!). I tried everything I could think of to help the burn and to deal with the pain, but nothing was really helping. The burn was so bad that I missed two days of work—my legs were so burned and swollen that I couldn't bend them to drive or sit at my desk.
     
    A friend who worked at Emergency Essentials told me to get Burn Free gel and promised me I wouldn't regret it. Boy, was he right. The gel helped almost instantly with the pain, and helped dissipate the burning feeling quickly. I wish I would have known about Burn Free on day one instead of day three or four.
    If you've never tried Burn Free, drop everything and get some now. Whether you get a burn from cooking, curling your hair (ladies, you know what I mean), working on the car, or not using enough sunscreen, Burn Free will help soothe and heal your burn. It’s better than anything I’ve ever used, hands down.
     
     
     
    So, that's what I bought with what I've saved so far. That left me with $1.01 in my jar, and my goal for February is to add at least $5 to my prepping jar. We’ll see how it goes.
    How much did you save in January? Are you going to spend it right away, or save up for a few months to buy something a little bigger?
    --Sarah (a.k.a., Urban Girl)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Pennies for Prepping, Budget, preparedness, Car Kit, Car Preparedness, Urban Girl

  • Baby Steps: Build Your Emergency Car Kit

    Thanks for your responses to our first February giveaway. You guys are troopers! We read about you pushing your van in the rain, running out of gas in the mountains, and a boulder stopping your 300 foot drop. (See our Facebook Page Jan 11, 2013 and our blog post.) Here’s one that stuck with me.

    Baby Steps: Build Your Emergency Car Kit. Emergency Essentials Blog.

     

    “During the winter of 1998 I was living in Northern Virginia and owned a historic VW bus. One evening after leaving work at 10 pm, I was driving too fast on iced over roads and slid off the road in a rural area. The bus traveled down a snowy hill and smashed into several trees. I broke the tibia bone in my leg and lost conscience for several hours after hitting my head on the solid metal driver’s door. I awoke around 3 am and tried to walk away from the accident, but couldn't because of my leg. I decided my best option was to stay put and had two blankets in the van to try and stay warm. The only food I had was some left over fast food from the previous day that were destined for the trash. It was half a burger, a handful of fries and three packets of ketchup. I ate everything. A driver passing by at 8 am saw the van and stopped to investigate. If he hadn't, I don't think I would have been found for another day or more. I realized that I wasn't prepared enough for that situation. I share what happened to me with all my friends and family in order to prepare them as well.”

    YIKES!! We’re glad you survived! Your story really got me thinking, "What I would I have done?" Thanks to your stories, I’m convinced to spend this weekend prepping. I’m getting an emergency car kit for sure. No more procrastination.

    Baby Step 1: Buying an emergency car kit. But while I’m waiting for my order to arrive, what can I put together? What do I need in order to survive in my car? In addition to the standard car maintenance items of course.

    Uh oh. The standards. Do I even have those?

    Baby step 2: Make sure I have basic car maintenance items. These include a tire pressure gauge, a jack, a lug wrench, a spare tire, and jumper cables. (Note to self: buy a spare tire this weekend!) If you don’t have the tools included in the Auto Tool Kit then consider buying the kit. Winterize your car too – stop at your mechanic’s or a lube shop if you need help.

    Third Baby step: Figure out which “extras” I already have at home. Extra backpack to hold everything – check. Extra blanket – check. Extra gloves – check. Extra hat – check. Extra sleeping bag? A tarp or mat (to kneel on when changing the tire)? Flashlight, food...

    … What food have I got at home that I can put together tonight? Some dried fruit, nuts – but those won’t last me long-term. Some granola bars? Those have a lot of sugar for quick energy boosts, but not enough calories to sustain me. I really need one of these high-calorie food bars. They don’t take up a lot of room and they’re sturdy enough to withstand extreme temperatures. It’s no steak dinner, but it’ll keep me alive if I’m stuck in my car for a couple of days.

    And what do I do about water? If I keep water in the car it’ll freeze. Does anyone have any good suggestions on how to keep liquid in my car without it freezing? Should I keep a filter or purifier and try to use snow instead?

    Fourth baby step: Get a map and find alternative routes for my normal drive. If you’re going into the city this weekend, or traveling around your state, take a little time to explore a road you wouldn’t normally take. Even if I’m not stranded, knowing alternate routes will be a big help when freeway traffic is at a stand-still.

    From Google Maps Jan. 24, 2013

    If you’ve already done these baby steps, well done! You’re obviously ready to baby step on a more advanced level. Read through Craig’s story again. What would you do if you were stranded and had no means of communication? (i.e., you don’t have a phone, you can’t get service, or it’s dead.) How would you signal for help? Do you have a bright-colored flag or banner? Do you have some kind of whistle or other attention getter (flares, flashlight)?

    What about first aid? Small first aid kits don’t cover broken bones; what do you keep in your car that could help? Could you use a long ice scraper as a splint? Do you have something to secure it with? What will you do for using the toilet if you can’t move?

    Staying warm and dry is a big deal, especially when injured. Craig had extra blankets, what do you have in your car?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency kit, baby steps, Car Preparedness

  • Giveaway! Be Prepared on the Road

    Have you ever been stranded (even in the middle of your own city) with a broken down car in less-than-ideal weather? Or stranded on the freeway? What about a back road?

    We’ve talked about winter travel and winter safety before, so for this week’s giveaway we want to give you some specially selected items that will help you stay warm, dry, and fed if you have to deal with car problems in rain or snow. 
    These items were chosen because they can give your current auto emergency kit a boost—or give you a jumping off point for putting a kit together. (Don’t have an auto kit yet? The Roadwise Emergency Kit is a great option.)
    Whether you already have a car kit, or you’re still working on it, this will give you some great items to round it out and keep you safe, warm, and fed if you get stranded on the road.
    These items were specially selected just for this giveaway (and most are on sale this month!):
    Auto Tool Kit - $14.99 in January ($31.69 value)
    Includes locking pliers, an adjustable wrench, a 6-in-1 screwdriver, long-nose pliers, leather/canvas gloves, and emergency tape.

     

    3600-calorie S.O.S.food bar- $5.69 January only ($7.95 value)
    These food ration bars have a nice flavor and are high in calories to give you the energy you need while waiting for help.


    Sportsman HoodedBlanket/Poncho
    - $12.99 this month (normally $14.95)
    Keeping warm while stranded in the winter will require staying dry. This hooded blanket/poncho can help keep you protected from the elements.

     

    Warmth Emergency Kit - $11.95 (valued at $14.92)
    These hand and body warmers will help keep you warm until help arrives. 172 hours of total warmth.

    Glow Stick – on sale this month for $2.99 ($6.49 value) – available in Red, Blue, Green, or Multi 

    This glow stick can help provide light without worrying about matches, and will flash for over 200 hours—a great option for signaling your location to rescuers if you get stranded in the dark.



    Enter to win one of two ways (one entry per person). Just answer this question in the comments below or on our Facebook post about this blog post:
    Have you ever been stranded on the road and had to wait for someone to rescue you—whether it was a tow truck, a stranger, search and rescue, or your own
    family? Tell us a little about it in your comment.
    Your comment must be on the blog or Facebook before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, January 13th 2013.
    We will pick and announce the winner on the blog and on Facebook on Monday the 14th, so check back next week to see if you’re the winner!
    If you are the winner and do not respond to our announcement on the blog and Facebook within 3 business days, you will forfeit your right to the prize and another winner will be chosen.
    All entries will be verified. Contest is open to all customers with a US shipping address; however, free shipping of the Weekly Wednesday Giveaway is included for the winner to the 48 contiguous United States only. For any locations outside this area, the winner is responsible for arranging and paying their own shipping costs. If you purchase a Weekly Wednesday Giveaway item during the giveaway and win, we will send you an additional item or issue you a refund for the product you purchased—whichever you prefer.This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger or Pinterest. Your entries are going to Emergency Essentials and not to Facebook, Twitter, blogger or
    Pinterest. Facebook, Twitter, blogger or Pinterest is in no way responsible for any part of this giveaway. 
    Employees of Emergency Essentials, Inc. and their immediate family members are not eligible for the giveaway.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Car Kit, Car Preparedness, giveaway