“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 Replace 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.
[caption id="attachment_1411" align="aligncenter" width="467"]
From Google Maps Jan. 24, 2013[/caption]
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?