Keeping your Vehicle Ready for Emergencies is an important part of being ready for Crisis and Survival situations. Having a flat tire in a remote location can be devastating if you do don’t have cell phone cover can be a dangerous event if no one knows where you are. The same event doesn’t have to cause much trouble if you have told someone where you are going and if you have prepared your vehicle with some basic equipment. This article will discuss some of the aspects of traveling safely and what type of equipment you can store in your vehicle for emergencies.
In addition to equipment you can store in your Vehicle there are also features that you can add to your vehicle like extra rearview mirror for your passage so that they can help you to keep an eye out for potential dangers, extra lights to increase the distance you can see during night time conditions, a winch and just to name few examples.
Equipment for Vehicles
There are a number of knives that are especially designed to be used as Rescue Tools. Some examples are:
• The Fixed Blade Police Rescue Knife (PRK) from Fällkniven with a serrated blade with a tanto style blade.
• The Rescue Tool from Victorinox that has features like a seat belt cuter, disc saw that can be used to cut through laminated glass; a glass breaker and fluorescent yellow handles.
• Benchmade has a number of different products like the Hook / Safety Cuter, Benchmade 915 Triage and Benchmade Houdini that are especially designed to be used to cut seat belts and break windows.
• The Fixed Blade Eickhorn Aviator 1 and the Eickhorn PRT-2 Folding Knife can be other interesting alternatives.
• The Gerber Hinderer Rescue Folding Knife and Spyderco Rescue are two other models.
For vehicles the size and weight of flashlight is normally not a big issue. The Fenix TK-70, The Fenix TK-60, The Fenix TK-41, The Olight SR92 Intimdator and the Maglite D-Cell flashlights can be interesting alternatives. Headlamps can be useful especially for repairs and if you have to perform other tasks when both hands are required like giving someone First Aid. Chemical Lightsticks can also be useful for similar tasks and signaling.
I suggest that you at least include a basic survival kit in your vehicle. Equipment that can be important to include:
• Equipment to Start a Fire
• Signaling; Whistle, Signal Mirror or SPOT
• Fishing Kit
• Wire Saw
• Button Compass, Compass or GPS
• Sewing Kit
• Safety Pins
• Pen and Paper
• Painkillers and Anti Diarrheal Tablets
• Emergency Blanket, Surviva Jak, Emergency Poncho, Bivanorak or Fjellduk
• Water Purification Tablets or a Water Purification Filter
• Compact Flashlight, Headlamp, Chemical Light Sticks, Emergency Strobe or Flares
Since space and weight normally is not a big problem for survival kits in Vehicles hard cases like the ones from Pelican can be a good choice since they protect the gear and make it easy to organize. An ordinary Pocket Survival Kit can also be used and stored in the glove compartment. Larger Survival Kits like the Deluxe Survival Kit and Soldiers Tactical Advantage Kit (STAK) from UST or the Comprehensive Survival Kit from ESEE can also be interesting alternatives. A Get Home Bag (GHB) or Bug Out Bag (BOB) can be interesting alternatives if you are looking for a more compact survival kit.
If you have to leave your vehicle in order to help someone how have just had a traffic accident or to change a flat tire a Signal Vest makes you much easier to spot for others how might pass you and decrease that chance that you get hit by another car or truck, especially in low light or low visibility conditions. There are also lights that are designed to be used during emergencies to warn others, the TigerFlare CR123 is one example.
Equipment to Help You Stay Warm
In cold climates the ability to stay warm is vital if you would become stranded because of hard weather or if your vehicle would break down. Equipment like a Wool or Fleece Blanket, an emergency blankets, sleeping bag, some extra clothing or Hand Warmers can be useful. If you have to travel in hard conditions some extra precautions should be made like including a vacuum bottle with something warm to drink, some food or snacks and extra clothing should be included, but most importantly tell someone where you are going, what route you are planning to take and when you expect to arrive. The Surviva Jak is a Jacket made from the same material used in Emergency Blankets and can easily be stored in small compartments. Extra Footwear and a Poncho or Rain Clothing can be also be a useful addition no matter if you live in cold climate or not.
In warm climates sun screen, a sun hat and most of all water can be just as important as the ability to stay warm in a cold climate.
Storing Water and Food In a Vehicle
A car is works a green house and the temperatures inside can become very high during the summer, an old car can even be used as a solar dehydrator for fruit and vegetables. High temperatures can prove fatal for infants or pets if they are left in a car during warm conditions. This makes storing water and food in car a problematic task since the shelf life of products are shortened if they are stored in warm temperatures; if you store either they should be rotated on a regular basis.
Choose products that cannot melt, chocolate is a typical example of products sensitive to heat. If possible choose products that do not contain water; dehydrated products, frieze dried rations, crackers; pasta etc can be good alternatives but must still be rotated on a regular basis. The same problem applies to water even if bleach or water purification tablets is added to increase the shelf life. There are some warnings regarding using plastic containers for storing water in warm conditions since the warmth can cause chemicals from the plastic to dissolve into the water. If you use plastic containers rotate the water on a regular basis to avoid this potential problem. For this reason water containers made from metal like the water bottles from SIGG or Klean Kanteen can be a good alternative to bottles made from plastic.
Equipment – Checklist
[ ] Roadmaps / City Map
[ ] Compass / GPS
[ ] Pen and Paper
[ ] Windshield Scraper and Towel
[ ] Towing Cable
[ ] Jumper Cables
[ ] Driver License, Insurance Information, Vehicle Registration and Repair Handbook
[ ] Flashlight, Headlamp or Chemical Lightsticks
[ ] Communications – CB Radio
[ ] Walkie-Talkies
Safety and First Aid
[ ] Fire Extinguisher
[ ] First Aid Kit and Cervical Color
[ ] Axe, Shovel, Machete, Parang, Kukri, Folding Saw or Chain Saw
[ ] Shovel
[ ] Leather Working Gloves and Latex Surgical Gloves
[ ] Screwdriver
[ ] Adjustable Wrench or
[ ] Spare Tier
[ ] Fix-A-Flat Spray
[ ] Tire Iron
[ ] Jack
[ ] Duct Tape
[ ] Extra Fuel
[ ] Windshield Washer Fluid
[ ] Coolant
Speeding is a risky activity for several reasons; the force of an impact depends on the speed that a vehicle is travelling, the distance that your vehicle travels before you can react if a threat increases and the distance that your need to travel in order to come to halt if you need to break also increases. There is also another aspect of speeding; the fuel consumption of your vehicle also increases if you push it harder. Modern cars is equipped with several safety features like airbags and deformation zones designed to absorb energy in case of an accident; but even a modern car cant withstand any impact.
Around 30.000-40.000 die in traffic accidents every year in the US alone and many more are injured and disabled. The number of deaths and wounded from traffic accidents is generally higher in middle income countries where people can afford to drive, but where safety measures are less and the vehicles often has lower safety rating. The culture surrounding driving also varies from country to country; in some countries it’s more socially accepted to drink and drive. Keep this in mind if you are travelling to other countries.
Things you can do in order to avoid traffic accidents
• Keep within the speed limits and adjust your speed according to the sight
• Don’t stress or get angry while driving. You may save a few minutes from driving faster; but it’s not worth getting dying or getting disabled.
• Never use alcohol or drugs while driving; also make sure that you are well rested and alert before getting into a car a day after a party even if the alcohol has left your system.
• Keep your attention on the road; avoid talking in your cell phone if possible and if you have to use a headset. Taking your attention of the road to write text message, change CD:s in your stereo or similar activities can end with disaster.
• Never drive while exhausted or if you risk falling asleep.
• When you purchase a car check the safety rating of the vehicle.
• Make sure to keep up on main tense
• Make sure that your windshield is clean and your rearview mirrors adjusted before you leave
• Make sure that all equipment in your vehicle is properly secured; lose objects can wound or kill you if you are in accident; even objects with a low weight can be devastating.
If You are involved in an Accident
If you need to get out of your vehicle check around before you leave it so you do not step out of your vehicle and get hit by a car. Having a vest made from fluorescent materials in your vehicle increases you visibility drastically if you have to change a tire or respond to an emergency; especially in low light and low visibility situations. There are also light that are especially designed to be used during traffic accidents that can be a useful complement.
If an accident blocks your way don’t get stressed or angry; I have talked to first responders that have gotten their hydraulic tubes to their tools broken by vehicles that have driven over them by stressed drivers that did not wait for them to finish getting wounded people out of broken vehicles.
Find a Solution that Works for You
What type of equipment that you should choose for you Vehicle depends on multiple factor like your setting, climate, vehicle and storage space, budget and it may also have to be adjusted depending on what season it is. One Size does not fit all, you must find a solution that cover your needs and make sense for your situation. A setup that makes perfect sense for a remote wilderness setting during winter condition is not a perfect setup for a person that lives in a city located in the desert.