If you drive a car daily and it’s your go-to mode of transportation in long-distance travels too, there are two things you need to have – excellent driving skills and a car that is in its prime shape. Now driving you can handle well in time, but it’s important to know that driving across the country isn’t the same as driving to work and back – it’s much more demanding and you need to be physically and mentally prepared for it.
When it comes to your vehicle, it’s important to keep it in check, particularly when you know you’re going to be driving for a long time. You never know when something can go awry and you find yourself in a survival situation, which is when the state of your car will significantly impact the seriousness of the situation. I believe it’s very important for every experienced driver to know to prep their vehicle for survival, and since I’ve been doing it myself for a while, here’s some wisdom I can impart.
Check Your Route
Before I even get to the technical part of what and what not to get, it’s important to talk about the plan of your journey before you get into your car. While it’s true that our mobile apps and GPS can get us anywhere these days, it’s best not to wing it but do a bit of a research to see where you’re heading to. It’s important to check the terrain you’ll be facing, as well as the weather conditions and the quality of roads. All of these factors directly impact your car and your driving, so don’t leave it all to chance, know where you’re going so that you can prepare accordingly.
Do Your Maintenance
Disaster can strike anytime, and while you shouldn’t be paranoid about it, you should do all in your power to have your vehicle working well at all times. This means doing your yearly and monthly checkups regularly so that you’re sure the basics in your car are working properly. Checking oil levels and keeping the tank half-full is a must and of course, you need to be aware what the state of your battery and starter motor is because these electrical little devils can make or break your journey, as well as your chances of survival if push comes to a shove. I’ve also created a habit of having some spare fuel with me in a metal jerry gas can, especially if I’m going on longer trips so that I don’t have to worry if there’s a gas station ahead. Check your brakes and brake pressure, and don’t forget about the lights, since they will make all the difference in a survival situation. When it comes to tires, it’s essential to check them for bold spots and slow punctures before you go anywhere.
Once you’re sure that every part of your car is working smoothly, it’s time to think about what you should bring with you in case something unfortunate happens. First of all, think about yourself and everybody else you’ll be driving, which means bringing enough water and food to have along the way. Sure, you’ll have time to stop and restock but if you happen to get stuck in a survival situation, you need to be prepared for that too. Have plenty of bottled water and bring supplies of survival food with you, but don’t go overboard as you don’t want to exceed your car’s weight limits. Second, you will need to have a well-stocked first aid kit with you that can treat smaller injuries with efficiency, as you can never be sure if you or your companions will get hurt and you don’t want to face the wilderness with an open wound, no matter how small.
When it comes to supplies for your car, I always have around a spare tire along with the changing kit because punctures and blowouts happen more often than you’d expect, so you need to be ready. Of course, you need to know how to change a tire as well, so if to this date you’re not certain how it’s done, get to it. Things like jumper cables, tire patches, pumps, and spare fuses will always be of help in a rough spot, and if it all possible, bring some antifreeze and spare oil just in case.
If you do get in a sticky survival situation and have your car with you, the first thing is not to panic. It’s advisable to stay with your car at all times, but that’s not possible if you need to find water, food or you want to take a look around to see where you are. Seeing that your vehicle is so much bigger than yourself, it’s also much more visible and people will spot it sooner. If you need to leave your car behind at least for a while, make sure you’re able to return to it, leave marks behind you so that you don’t get lost – having a super long rope can help here, which is why it would be a good idea to have it in your trunk as well. Finally, to ask for help, create a large V next to your car with any materials you can find like branches or tent poles so that people can spot even from the air that you need some help.
As you can see, prepping your vehicle for survival is mostly about being precautious and taking good care of your car. If you happen to get stuck in a survival situation, keep your head on your shoulders and come up with a plan that will get you home safely.
Guest Author – Robert Foster, Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Robert Foster is a professional personal trainer, certified in kettle bells, TRX and group training. He’s an experienced mountain climber and a cycler that writes about his experiences on www.prosurvivalist.com from time to time.
*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay