Traveling anywhere off the beaten path poses additional risks to our safety which means planning ahead for the possible unknown emergency is extremely important to our safety.
It doesn’t matter if we are headed up camping for a weekend, or across the state to visit a friend, we need to practice traveling preparedness and use good judgement.
Bad situations happen in an instant and sometimes they can be avoided and sometimes they can’t, but in either situation, we CAN be prepared for the aftermath.
A couple of years ago my Husband and I decided to take a leisurely Sunday drive up in the Mountains. We knew it might rain, but having spent our entire lives in the mountains we weren’t too concerned.
And rain it did! Flash flood kind of rain! We pulled over during the hard rain and waited it out and then cautiously headed back down the dirt road towards home when the rain had let up, but the drain off had turned the road to a slick mess and we sadly slid off and hit a tree. Thankfully we were fine, but sadly we were stuck in a remote location.
A couple of things about that incident: Before we left, I called my daughter and let her know where we were we going. Next, I packed several things, even though we only planned to be gone 3 or 4 hours. We already had our emergency roadside kit in the Expedition, just like this on Amazon, . I also grabbed my emergency 3 day backpack and tossed it in the back of my vehicle. So simple! I also grabbed 2 gallons of water, some extra snacks to enjoy as we drove around and some extra blankets. Total packing time….5 minutes. Tops.
Once the incident happened, we kept our calm. Analyzed the situation, and decided that because it was late afternoon we would snuggle up for the evening in our vehicle and walk out on the dirt road we were on to the main road in the morning IF the weather was good. Keeping dry, warm and safe was our number 1 priority and we had plenty of water, food, warmth, and shelter right where we were!!! Bonus: Two hours later…someone came driving up the road and gave us a ride home.
Traveling Safety Tips and Preparedness:
Tell Someone Where You Are Going: It only takes a minute to give someone a quick call and let them know that you are taking a quick road trip or hike or bike on a great trail. If you really don’t want to call someone every time you leave off the beaten path, leave a note on the counter at your house!
A kit like the AAA 76 Piece Premium Excursion Road Kit (pictured right) can get you out of a bind and back on the road.
We like to think our vehicles are dependable, but they can and will break down. Be prepared!
Plus..don’t tempt the gas tank. Fill up as often as possible. Especially if you are traveling long distance. If you hit that half way mark, fill up again!
Check The Weather Report:
Know what you’ll encounter before you leave for your trip. Plan for it! Plan for what’s not in the weather report. Especially if you’re headed to the mountains, the weather can fluctuate drastically from warm in the morning hours to snowing in the afternoon. Plan accordingly. If there’s any chance of snow in the forecast, have chains and extra clothings and blankets for warmth.
Take at least a minimum of a 3 day Emergency Preparedness Supplies with You: For every person in your group, have a least 3 days worth of food and water, a first aid kit and warmth in the form of clothing and blankets. You should also have:
- 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers – Dark Green
- Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10)
- Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets
IF you get stuck (like we did) stay with your vehicle first and foremost. Your vehicle is a fantastic shelter and it’s an excellent signal if people are looking for you. If you believe you are close enough to a main road where help would be more readily available and the weather permits safe walking conditions, you can make the decision to walk ON THE ROAD to the main road. Take all your safety gear with you. DO NOT take short cuts through the woods or down a mountain believing that would save time. Stay on dirt roads no matter what. Leave a note with your car explaining exactly what you’ve done.
And last but not least….BRING A MAP: AN ACTUAL TOUCHABLE MAP — DO NOT DEPEND ON GPS OR CELLPHONES for Directions:
Two times in the last couple of years my family has had to help wayward travelers who became lost because they followed the “turn right here” directions of their GPS units that lead them in circles and completely away from their desired destinations.
One person, if they had truly continued on the path of their GPS unit would have quickly found themselves in 5 feet of snow up on top of a mountain about 15 miles from the lodge they were trying to get to. That GPS was showing the shortest distance, but it was an extremely dangerous route that could only be driven during the summer with a 4 wheel drive vehicle. We turned that driver around, but I hate to think if he hadn’t stopped to verify with us that he was on the right road.
It’s ok to use a GPS unit or cell phone for directions on regular roads or highways, but if you’re on dirt roads or remote roads, it’s extremely important to use actual maps and use GPS units as a backup.
Practice safe traveling and preparedness when you are on the move!