December 26, 2006

Power Shift: Survival Tips

As outlined in Power Shift today, I'm going to go into more detail on what you should have in your car. I'm going to make a first distinction, though, that some help sites overlook: If you're not a long distance traveller every week, there are things that probably take up more space than need be.

And that's the number one complaint I hear - many of the things you're told to have take up all of your trunk. So, be reasonable. Assess your life, understand the weather where you live, and make sure you cover all the bases.

If you're setting out on a road trip - whether cross country, or a three hour tour (look what happened to Gilligan), you need to be expecting the unexpected. Weather is tricky to predict, and conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Make sure you have ready access to at least the following:

1. Fresh water. Don't depend on melting snow, it's probably full of chemicals.
2. Food. The chocolate bars I mentioned are good, power bars will actually taste far better if there is nothing to compare them too, dried fruit lasts forever as well.
3. Clothing. I can't stress enough proper footwear. For women especially, have snow boots in the car. Keep some big socks stuffed in them. All of your body heat escapes through your head, so keep hats and mitts (how about all those ones in the bin that nobody wears?) in a bag. You need to be able to layer for warmth.
4. Candles and matches. A flashlight. Road flares. Most of these things can be found in a store bought kit you purchase, and will tuck under the seat. The more you spend, the more you'll get.
5. A whistle. Bright tape. As the proberbial needle in a haystack, you may end up having to do anything you can to let people know where you are.
6. LET PEOPLE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. File a route map with someone you trust. If you change paths, even for a posted detour, tell someone. Carry a charged cell phone and a charger. IF CONDITIONS DETERIORATE, TURN BACK.
7. Blankets. Also carry a couple of those little solar blankets that come in a pouch. They're as big as a pack of gum, but open up huge and really work.
8. Jumper Cables. You're going to run your battery down.
9. GAS UP AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY. Here, you must think like a parent with toddlers. You would never pass a bathroom without making everyone go. In iffy weather, don't pass up any opportunity to gas up.
10. A knife, and duct tape. If something is loose, tape it tight. If something is tight, cut it loose.
11. A tool box. Even if you don't know how to use the stuff in it, someone that finds you may need it. Keep a collapsible shovel. They are really handy.


Make sure you still have a blanket, boots and hats, a collapsible shovel, water and some foot in the glovebox. In winter, keep the gas tank topped up. If you drive small kids, have spare warm clothing for them. The cell phone is still important, and keep an eye on the weather. Jumper cables can be invaluable - but learn how to use them. (If you don't know, tell me and I'll post how to do it.)

In all cases, don't drive over your head. Stay out of areas you don't know, don't overestimate the ability of your vehicle, and err on the side of caution. Listen to the local news, and read the local paper. You will be informed of road closings, construction and delays. Don't drive if you've been drinking, don't drive if you're tired, and don't drive angry. That may sound a little crazy, but angry drivers make stupid mistakes and take dumb risks. Cool off somewhere other than on the road.

In any case, if problems arise, stay with your car. There are very few times when leaving makes sense, and your odds drop dangerously when you abandon the easiest way for searchers to find you. Put an 'x' on the roof of your car with bright tape, pray the person you told of your trip details wrote it down, and stay positive.

I welcome additional tips in the comments section. I hope everyone had a great Christmas - more blogging later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why on earth are you posting this crap? It's like the crud you get in the AAA booklet. If people want to find out how to travel safely in bad weather, they can look at one of the millions of existing resources.

Why you posted this to try and make it seem as though you are contributing something to society I have no idea.

Look, you are just a dull person. Nobody wants to read about you or your dull opinions. So stop!

December 27, 2006 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone must have got a lump of coal in their stocking (well-deserved I'd say.) Why do you read Lorraine's blog if you have better things to do? I take all such info as worth reading - it may seem like common sense but we do forget we have no control over the unexpected without preparation. Thanks for the memory jog Lorraine. Anonymous sounds like a little envy is present. Hope green is his or her colour. Sandie ( the Avon lady)

December 27, 2006 9:34 PM  

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