31 Dec 2013
It is imperative that when you are behind the wheel you are 100% focused on the road and being a defensive and responsible driver, meaning you are driving for yourself and watching and reacting to the driving actions of those around you.
Driving defensively means you are totally clear headed; you have not taken any type of drugs or alcohol that in anyway could alter your reflexes or inhibit your concentration and focus to the road. It also means you are not answering your phone and certainly not texting. You are not putting on your makeup or eating while behind the wheel. Your job, your only job once you get behind the wheel is to drive.
Even with the best attempt to drive as carefully as possible, accidents do happen, and if they do you want to make sure you are prepared to handle it.
Carrying safety gear is part of being a responsible driver. First, always carry a pair of jumper cables. Oh, you may wonder, how a dead battery is a safety risk. Anytime your car is out of commission in any place other than your own driveway, you are at risk. At least having a set of cable can get you going again real quick and easy. Most anyone will help you jump once your hood is up and you show you have cables. If this is the case however, never let your guard down. Always keep a stand up confident posture, you are not a victim, you just need a jump. Chances are, with a solid posture like that and a bad guy won’t bother with you anyway. Plus, having a pair of jumper cables puts you in a position to help someone else who may have a dead battery.
Also, I make sure I have some road flares and a safety vest. If you are broke down on the side of the road you want to be seen. Even though I don’t recommend trying to work on your car on the side of the road, I would rather call a friend or road side assistance, but, I still want to be seen, especially if it is as night.
Next, always have a fire extinguisher and, this is most important, know how to use it. I remember a time nearly 30 years ago, when I saw a pickup truck on fire. This truck has a horse trailer with horses in it hitched on the back. I pulled over, jumped out with my trusty fire extinguisher, ran up to the truck along with several other people who were helping, I hit the button and nothing came out of my extinguisher, nothing. Thank goodness, others there new how to use their extinguishers and the fire was quickly put out with no harm done to the horses. Once I got back to the car I looked at my extinguisher and realized that not only did I need to pull the pin, but there was a safety cap covering the button. Lesson learned, I never again just bought something without insuring I knew all the ins and outs of how to use it.
Where I live there are a lot of ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water. I remember in the late ‘70s a woman had called her husband around 11pm at night saying she was on her way home from work. She had about a 25 minute drive down an interstate highway. She never got home, just disappeared. The authorities looked for days, her car and picture was on the news for weeks. Then, in the mid ‘80s during a road widening project on that same interstate, her car was found in the center medium filled with water. Her remains were found in the vehicle still strapped in behind the wheel. She had gone off the interstate that night on her way home, the over growth of the trees and brush closed in around her car and it was unseen from the road.
Due to all the water near the roads, it is imperative that you carry a way to get out of your car if you were to end up in a body of water. This is where you have to be able to take care of yourself and not wait on help that may or may not come in time.
Think what you would do a head of time if your goes ends up in water, run through it in your mind. The professionals say you should roll the window down as soon as possible, unbuckle your seat belt, get you and your family out quick, you only have about 30 seconds before the car will sink. That is not a lot of time to start coming up with a plan, have the place in place a head of time.
As noted in the video, always have both a ResQMe and a Life Hammer to break your car window with and cut the seat belt off with. I keep the ResQMe on my keys and the Life Hammer mounted on my floor board, that way no matter how the car ends up, I know where the tools are.
Have the plan a head of time, I can’t emphasize that enough. Think it through in your head. Talk it through out loud to both yourself and your family, especially your kids. Run through the steps just as you would a fire drill and do this a couple of times a year. Talk about what you would do if the car ends up-side-down. Having a plan, talking it though and evening doing mock practices could save your life and the lives of those you love.