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This article was originally published in Issue 1 of our magazine.
It's always a good idea to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. In this case, we're applying that thought to vehicular travel. As a city dweller, you may already realize that if something bad happens in a major metropolitan area, a chance of monumental gridlock occurring is almost guaranteed. In that instance, you're not going anywhere via car, truck, or most other land conveyances. But, if the disaster is not widespread and is localized to your particular area or you choose to bug-in and lay low for a while, the streets might clear up enough for you to escape. In that case, you need your wheels to be good to go at a moment's notice.
A key thing to keep in mind is that your vehicle should always be in good working order. This isn't even a tip for disaster preparedness; this is a tip for everyday life. Your vehicle, be it car, truck, or motorcycle, must be well maintained and reliable because it is important for the safety of you, your family, and those around you. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound and not leaking any fluids, your gas tank is always at least half full at all times, the battery is charged, and the tires have the proper air pressure in them.
Other precautions would be to make sure you have a few supplies stored in the car, such as drinking water in a BPA-free container, toilet paper, and a first aid kit. It's also a good idea to keep a Return To Home (RTH)-style backpack on hand for the supplies it contains and in case vehicular travel becomes impossible and you need to proceed on foot. (Read more about RTH backpacks in “A Walk On The Wild Side” elsewhere in this issue.) Be sure that easily forgotten items such as your car's fluids are topped off, and remember to keep your spare tire inflated to factory recommendation.
If you take the proper precautions, you'll have a reliable and safe vehicle for your everyday commute, road trip vacations, or the occasional escape from the freak volcano eruption or alien invasion at the center of town. In the spirit of vehicle preparedness, we gathered a few items that make good additions to your onboard emergency kit.
Drivers should be concerned about being trapped in a vehicle in the event of an accident. Doors can become jammed and seatbelts may become impossible to release; there are plenty of scenarios that can play out.
In the occurrence of certain types of disasters, road debris may be widespread, and the possibility of multiple tire punctures should be anticipated. Fixing a tire puncture while on the road may be your only option to traverse to safety.
It goes without saying that fuel is life on the road (just ask Mad Max), and if you're heading out into the great unknown, it is a good idea to have extra just in case. If you have somewhere to stash an approved fuel container on your vehicle's exterior, such as a roof rack or a mounted fuel can carrier, then that's your best bet.
If you have a vehicle such as a sedan that has a trunk, a hatchback, a van, or an SUV without exterior racks, then your options can get a bit tricky. It is not recommended to have a full fuel can inside your vehicle, even in the confines of a trunk. Flammable vapors will escape and can create an explosive atmosphere within your car.
If you end up powering multiple devices from your cigarette lighters in your vehicle, the battery can drain pretty quickly. Be sure that you can keep your power flowing by possibly upgrading your battery to a more powerful or efficient version. It's also advised to carry a set of fuses just in case you experience a short.
Did you know that road debris causes an estimated 25,000 accidents happen every year on America's highways? In the event of a disaster, chances are that those numbers may rise. To avoid hitting debris, always scan at least 12 seconds ahead of your path to be sure your way is clear. But keep in mind that if you do come across debris, depending what it is, it's sometimes safer to run it over than to swerve into oncoming traffic or off
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