How to Make Sure Your Vehicle is as Prepared as You Are

How to Make Sure Your Vehicle is as Prepared as You Are
The average American spends up to 12 years in their car, and that means that you are probably going to be spending oh… around a sixth of your life in your automobile in various stages of transportation, idling, and using colorful language to describe your frustrations to your fellow drivers.

While I can’t help with making the daily grind pleasant, in this article we’re going to explore some things you can do to make sure that the events that happen in and around our cars are less stressful – and that’s a good thing, because less stress = longer lives = more time spent in cars.

With that in mind, let’s think back to Understanding Emergencies and Everyday Carry. We can apply these same templates to our vehicles, to make the most unpleasant moments on the road a little more manageable.

Emergencies

The vehicle has unique problems that are particularly challenging. That’s okay, though, because these challenges still fall into our previously established categories of emergency “types.” In doing this, we can maintain some consistency, while only modifying our metric of how protracted the event is.  So, in evaluating how we’ll address our needs, we’ll first define our most likely emergencies by their types.

Type 1: High Intensity – Short Duration

There’s probably no better example of this kind of emergency than a car wreck. These happen in the blink of an eye and produce an overwhelming amount of pandemonium – and then they’re over. Car accidents take on a variety of levels of severity, but we can easily say that if you’re in a car accident, the accident doesn’t “last” for hours (even if the impacts do). However, even though the quintessential Type 1 Emergency is the auto-accident, there are others:

– Carjacking
– Car fires
– Submergence
– Environmental emergencies (earthquakes, floods etc.)

All deserve to be considered when we pack our cars with gear and our heads with the skills to mitigate these emergencies.  Keep in mind that these lists are going to be extremely short, as our everyday carry (EDC) structure will take care of quite a few of these problems.

Equipment

– Medical kit (discussed later)
– Water (potable)
– Flares
– Defensive tools
– Fire extinguisher (such an overlooked necessity)

Skills

First Aid
– Defensive driving
– Good situational awareness
– Vehicle defensive skills

There are a few occurrences that will show you the ‘weak points’ in your defensive driving curriculum. Your ability to manipulate things like your seatbelt or clutch are likely to suffer, so it’s important to make sure you have a mental outline of what you’re going to do, and practice it.

For example, I don’t wear my seatbelt if I’m going under 20 miles per hour. If something happens, I want to be able to exit quickly and not fuss with it. While I don’t advocate this, it’s a part of my baseline from when I worked patrol. Establish one for yourself as well, based on your vehicle and your comfort level with the above situations. No matter what happens, there are a few basic things you’re going to want to do:

  1. Stop the vehicle from moving (if you can)
  2. Safely put the vehicle in neutral, and utilize the parking break. Note: This allows you to keep the vehicle running, in case you need to move again quickly, and minimizes the chances that the vehicle won’t start again if you’ve been in a collision.
  3. Safely exit the vehicle
  4. Move to a safer location (off the road, etc.)

So, for me, my order of operations is as follows:

  1. Move out of the area of whatever put you in danger (i.e., get the heck out of Dodge)
  2. Put the vehicle in Neutral and engage the parking brake
  3. a) Release your seatbelt slowly, cautiously, and without an excess of movement (this is a relatively small activity that can turn into a fine-motor-skill nightmare if you don’t practice it – especially if you’re hanging upside down, or some road-raged freak is trying to punch you through the window – both of which have happened to me)
    b) Remove your seatbelt deliberately and without any ‘sudden’ movements. This generally will cause the belt to “lock” and resist your movements. Don’t get trapped by being in a hurry!
  4. Do a mental sweep of the vehicle and the surroundings. Grab any equipment that you must have.
  5. Exit the vehicle after a second quick spot-check in the mirrors.
  6. Move away from any hazards, and place yourself behind something solid (jersey barriers, telephone poles, etc.)

This way, regardless of the emergency, I can get in and out quickly, am aware of the potential hazards before I get out, and I have anything I’m going to need to treat injuries or move on foot (second-line equipment) .

This article was posted by Aaron M. please visit The Prepper  Journal www.theprepperjournal.com to view the entire article.