Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Travelling with Vehicles During a Crisis or Survival Situation

In case of an emergency or crisis situation it is good if you have your vehicle in a good working condition and with some basic gear in it. A vehicle can serve as transport for wounded or as fast transport during an evacuation. A vehicle intended to be used during evacuation is often referred to as a Bug Out Vehicle (BOV). A car with four-wheel drive is good for getting around in off road driving and if the roads are cover with snow. Make sure that the fuel in your car don’t get to low, check the tiers regularly and maintain a good service. Make sure to keep your windshield clean so can get a good view. I strongly suggest that you get some extra rear view mirrors so that your passenger can help you keep an eye out.

Every year somewhere between 30.000-40.000 people die in motor vehicle accidents in the United States alone. When you are driving always take your time and use the seatbelt. The faster you drive the more likely you are to get killed in an accident. Never drink alcohol or use drugs when driving. If the weather is bad or the visibility low adjust your speed accordingly. Using Smartphone’s and text messaging while driving are other activities that can often result in accidents. Remember that even if you don’t engage in these activities when you are driving others do. Stay alert.

There are combination safety tools with a seat belt cutter and glass breaker that is very good to have in your car in case of an accident. Victorinox has model of the Swiss Army knife called Rescue Tool that has a seatbelt cuter, glass breaker and other features. A Bug Out Bag (BOB) or Get Home Bag (GHB) in addition with appropriate clothing and footwear should brought along if you have to abandon your vehicle and make it back by foot.

Vehicle Emergency Equipment
[ ] First Aid Kit
[ ] Road Map, Compass and GPS
[ ] Things that help you stay warm; extra clothing, wool blankets, sleeping bags. It may also be a good idea to include equipment to build a fire and some handwarmers.
[ ] Some Water and Food
[ ] Some sources of Light; Flashlight or Headlamp and extra Batteries (lithium). Chemical Light Sticks are a good addition if you have to make reparations or change a tire during the night. A signal vest is a useful addition if you have to leave your vehicle during low visibility conditions like a snowstorm or during the night.
[ ] Extra Fuel
[ ] Folding or Compact Shovel like the E-Tool
[ ] Axe, Chainsaw or Folding Saw
[ ] Short Wave Radio or Citizen Band (CB) Radio
[ ] Jack, Spare Tire , Tier Iron and Fix-A-Flat Spray.
[ ] Adjustable Wrench, Duct Tape and Screwdriver
[ ] Leather working Gloves and Latex Gloves
[ ] Fire Extinguisher
[ ] Driver License, Insurance Information, Registration and Repair Handbook
[ ] Windshield Scraper and Towel
[ ] Snow Chains (for winter conditions)
[ ] Towing Cable
[ ] Jumper Cables

Secure all equipment. If you are in a car crash and haven’t secured your equipment it may cause severe damage to you. Even light weight items may become extremely dangerous in a high speed crash.

Some basic equipment can also be useful to have if you ever get caught in a traffic jam. Especially during winter conditions people often get stranded because of accidents and severe weather. If the weather is severe I recommend that you either wait until the weather clears or take precautions before you leave. Anticipate that the travel may take much longer than you first thought and bring extra clothing, a vacuum bottle with something warm to drink, something to eat and water.

Emergency Travel
• Make sure that you always travel at least two persons in every vehicle if possible.
• Always travel with two vehicles or more if possible. If you are travelling with two vehicles walkie-talkies is good tool for communicating between the vehicles.
• Make a radio check before you leave. The passenger should act as radio operator and navigator.
• Make sure to inform someone about where you are going, what route you are planning to take, how is travelling in the party, what you are planning to do and when you are planning to get back. Also make sure that everyone in the party that’s going knows this information.
• Don’t let the distance between the vehicles get to big, if you get pulled over at a check point make sure to park the vehicles close together so that no one can get between the vehicles. When you park your car, park in the direction you intend to leave.
• Don’t leave any valuable items in plain view, for example on the dashboard. Cover all equipment. Don’t carry fancy jewelry or expensive watches in plain sight.
• Roll up all the windows and lock the doors before you go.
• Don’t have alcohol containers, illegal drugs or other something else that is illegal or can be seen as suspicious in your car. Be aware of your passengers so that they don’t carry anything illegal.
• In high risk areas and countries suffering from civil war it is common that mines may be placed in front and at the rear of vehicles at improvised checkpoint to keep them from escaping. If you travel in a high risk area the most important part of your travel is to get intelligence about what areas that are safe and not. If you must travel in such an area it may be best to contact your embassy or UN Security officials.

Bikes are an excellent way to get around and really good exercise. I suggest that you a good reliable bike that you can use every day and a mountain bike that you can use if you want to go off road. A bike rack for your car is a good accessory if you want to take your bike with on a camping or hiking trip.

The most important safety feature is off course a good helmet, I prefer the helmets from ProTec and Bell myself. When you take your bike out I recommend that you carry your Pocket Survival Kit and Folding Knife, Swiss Army Knife or a Multi Tool. Wenger has a special Swiss Army knife called Biker 37.

A good front light and a headlamp plus a red rear light are good when you ride your bike at night. Fenix has good flashlights and bikes mounts that work really well. A small GPS unit that you can mount on your bike is available from Garmin; The Edge 705. Gaiters are good for keeping your trousers away from the chain.

Checklist for other Equipment:
[ ] Puncture Repair Kit
[ ] Pump
[ ] Spare Valve
[ ] Adjustable Wrench or Barbell Spanner
[ ] Screwdriver
[ ] Helmet
[ ] Water Bottle or Water Bladder


  1. good list,in fact i only have only one to suggest,to be added.

    jumper cables so you can start your or someones vehicle in case of empty battery,extreme cold weather,or when ever the starter needs more power to get that engine going.

  2. Thanks for the feedback and advice! I agree that jumper cables are a very import thing to bring in your vehicle, Ill add that to the list.

  3. How about a battery solar panel charger they have small ones from Harbor Freight that are cheap and easy to carry.

  4. They also have small rechargeable battery boosters. With that you could jump it yourself, just incase you end up in the middle of nowhere, where help cannot be found.

    Also a good idea would be a 'Haynes' or 'Chilton' vehicle repair manual...

    And under things to stay warm, you might want to add a lighter, or some other fire starter...

    1. For the vehicle, add some replacement fuses, headlamps, extra oil, antifreeze, break fluid, transmission fluid, dry gas (the isopropyl kind,)come-along and rope. A few sheets of clear plastic is nice, too. You can replace a broken window using the duct tape, or collect rain water and a variety of other things. Insect repellent and sun screen are nice to have, too.