How often do you travel more than 20 miles by car? Are you taking your family to a relative’s house for dinner? Going to a concert in the city? Spending the weekend in your mountain getaway? Wherever your destination, “preparedness prevents the necessity of requiring rescue” – as my mentor and Wilderness First Responder Instructor Carl Weil puts it.
The question is not “if” you get a flat tire, or lose your way, or the transmission goes out, or you run out of gas…or whatever!…the question is “WHEN it happens, will you be prepared?”
Being prepared might just save someone’s life…and probably your own! When travelling by car more than 10 miles, always:
- Keep the gas tank over 1/2 full. My grandpa would always tell me: “It costs just as much to keep the gas tank full as it does to keep it empty.”
- Short-term stranded: means there’s regular traffic, you are not injured, and not facing inclement weather. Stay with the vehicle, put your emergency blinkers on, lift the hood, flag down a driver, call emergency services.
- Long-term stranded: self evacuation may be the most prudent move if you are remote, with no cell service. Activate a self-evacuation, leave behind a detailed note for rescuers. Have a clear plan.
- Winter driving requires more planning and supplies especially warm layered clothing (think heavy wool socks, wool hats and several pairs of gloves, work gloves & insulated gloves), sleeping bags and heavy blankets – keep them in your car!
- A first aid kit that you KNOW HOW TO USE. Click here to find a basic First Aid class in Colorado, or click here to check out some online classes.
- Driving at night? Candles, matches, lighters, flashlights, spare batteries, flares, reflectors with stands, AND lightsticks, AND a spotlight. (Did I mention spare batteries?)
- Go the extra mile to keep your vehicle in good, running order at all times. Especially make sure your mechanic checks the fan belts, timing belts, tires, have a full-size spare tire, anti-freeze, and oil. Do you check your oil weekly? 😉
- AAA is the best investment I’ve made when I’m not too remote and have cell service. The card covers the driver, so even if you’re in someone else’s car they will save you from a lockout, jump-start your battery, change out a tire, and pull you out of a ditch without you having to pay out of pocket!
- Tire chains – city folk may not consider the necessity. But in winter weather many mountain roads are literally closed to all traffic without all wheel drive and tire chains. Don’t get turned back at the mountain pass.
- Water jugs – at least one gallon, 2 if you have room. Full of water, of course.
These are just the top 10 items on my list – living somewhat remotely, not travelling too far into the back country. If you do only ONE thing, get a great first aid kit and know how to use it. The rest is easy! Don’t get caught unprepared, “plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Get the full auto-emergency preparedness checklist (30 must have essentials!) here from Carl Weil of Wilderness Medicine Outfitters.
Wanna learn how to save a life? Join me starting March 27 for a six week course in Golden, Colorado to become a Wilderness First Responder – this is by far the BEST medical training I’ve received, stuff that you’ll actually use even if you’re not a paramedic. Everyone should know this stuff.