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Prepare For Vehicular Emergencies

May 19, 2011 by  

Prepare For Vehicular Emergencies

I recently returned from a trip to a mountainous part of the Pacific Northwest where I spent a good part of my time driving off the beaten path on forest service and other remote roads. A recent news story about a woman who was found alive in her van after being stranded for seven weeks on a remote road in a Nevada wilderness brought to mind the countless survivor stories I uncovered while researching my book Getting Out Alive. Though the scenarios I explored included a broad spectrum of environments such as deserts, open sea, jungle and mountains, the recurring theme in so many of these stories was that of an individual, couple or family venturing out in some kind of motorized vehicle or boat to a remote place they would not normally be willing or able to walk into (or back out of). Trusting fully in technology to get them there and back, they strike out with little in the way of extra gear or supplies, fully expecting to return to the comfort of civilization after their brief foray into the wild.

The trouble begins when the vehicle either breaks down or gets stuck or somehow disabled. Imagine being 20 miles from the nearest paved road in the desert with only a couple bottles of water, or stranded on a snowy mountain pass with no means of starting a fire and no sleeping bag or adequate warm clothing for the extreme-low temperatures of the nighttime hours. Such scenarios unfold time and time again, no matter how many stories are published or make the evening news — all because people put too much trust in technology and fail to take the “what-ifs” into consideration.

To be fully prepared to go into a remote place, you have to imagine what you would do without the vehicle that takes you there and what you would need if circumstances extended your stay much longer than expected. A lifetime of hiking with a backpack, riding into remote places on motorcycles and mountain bikes and traveling by sea kayak, canoe and sailboat has reinforced this idea in my consciousness time and time again. As a result, I always have extra food and water, even for the shortest excursions. And a sleeping bag, Therm-a-Rest® pad, tarp, machete, fire-starting tools and other essentials are as much a part of my vehicle’s equipment as a spare tire and jack. There have been times when having these extras has saved me from great discomfort. If you travel off the beaten path enough, there will come a time when you will need them, too.

Scott B. Williams

has been exploring wild places and seeking adventure on both land and sea for most of his life. He has written about his experiences in several books, including On Island Time: Kayaking the Caribbean, and is the author of the survival books Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late, and the recently released Getting Out Alive: 13 Deadly Scenarios and How Others Survived. More of his thoughts on survival topics can be found on his blog: Bug Out Survival.

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  • Ranchman

    Not to mention what one might need in an SHTF scenario. And don’t just think of yourself! Are there young ones in your car? Are there special needs someone might require, like meds? What if you get stranded for a week or more like the young lady in the story? Having only a couple days worth of food, which can admittedly take up a lot of room-especially if there’s several people along, might still not be enough; would you be able to forage in the wilderness for your food? Sure, these are extreme scenarios, yet taking extreme precautions just might save your or a loved ones life. God Bless.

  • always right

    just take edible people along. oh, and a chainsaw, so you can skin them out for clothing. It works in the movies.
    I am amazed how few people even have the brains to wear shoes or even just carry shoes in their car that are suitable for walking (mostly, women) and don’t carry even the barest of essentials in their car, like a full-sized spare tire. Those are the ones you’d eat because they’re too stupid to leave alive in an emergency. They’d just get you killed trying while to save them from their own stupidity.

    • granny mae

      LOL !
      I must agree ! I too have seen many people drive their car without shoues or even a pair in sight ! They get to where they are going and walk across pavemet or floors that , only God knows what has been there ! They pick up germs on their feet and then wonder why they get sick ! Especially young people today and you can’t tell them a darn thing ! We had a young girl living with us for a while and even though we live out in the country you still need to wear shoes or sandles on your feet. There are thorny vines, sticks laying all around and we have even found broken glass in the dirt, not to mention snakes ! She drove my husband nuts because she wouldn’t wear shoes and was always hurting her feet ! I finally had to lay the law down and it was follow our rules or get the hek out. I had to remind her every time she moved toward the door to put on shoes or don’t you dare go out that door ! She learned but it was like beating a dead horse until she did ! Where I live it is hard to carry much all the time in the car because it is so hot here that it ruins in a hurry in the car; and becomes useless ! However I do carry some water a first aid kit of sorts and a couple emergency food bars, a jacket, some plastic bags, wet wipes, and lighter and we always wear shose ! Can’t carry medicine, it’s too hot !

      • John

        Health in the outback is of utmost importance. Does anyone even remember “lockjaw”. or tetinous (sp) and what it does to man and beast? Any open wound, no matter how slight, allows bacteria in. You can even get worms from walking around in the muck without footwear. Does anyone wonder why so many people died on the wagon trains moving west? Sickness, not wild indians, did most of the killing. Cholora, scarlet fever, measles, and many others were spread by human contact. And if you are out alone and get injured you may very well not come back. Does anyone realize how many people disappear in our National Parks each year. Keep clean & stay healthy!


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