Traveling Safely in the Wintertime

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

The more I learn about defending myself, my family and my home, the more I realize that self-defense is really all-encompassing. In other words, it’s not just about being able to win a shoot-out with a bad guy. Yes, that’s important; but there are many other things in life that can kill you, some intentionally, some accidentally, and some just because they are dangerous. We have to defend ourselves against these as well.

Language can sometimes give us a clue to these dangers. Our modern word “travel” comes from the root word “travail,” because of the dangers that used to be associated with traveling. When the only law is feudal lords and they are only able to protect people near their castles, it becomes dangerous to travel through lands which were more often than not under the control of outlaws and brigands. People usually had to travel in groups, to ensure that they outnumbered those who might attack them.

But those outlaws and brigand weren’t the only danger to be found on the roads. Just like today, weather was a great danger, especially winter weather. They too could slide off the road if they were careless, finding themselves trapped in serious survival situations. Whether or not they survived depended on how prepared they were for the situation, how knowledgeable they were about survival and a little bit of luck.

The same can be said of us today. No matter how technologically advanced we become and how comfortable that technology makes our lives, it can’t remove danger from them. Oh, there are those who would want us to believe that danger has been removed; but those people work pretty hard to keep their own lives closed to the dangers of life. After all, we have a government that’s supposed to protect us from all danger… or so they think.

As Bilbo told Frodo, in the Hobbit, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.” That’s especially true in the wintertime, when the weather alone is enough to kill. The rest of that quote seems appropriate too: “You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you’ll be swept off to.”

Granted, for us, it’s not so much our feet, as it is our car’s tires. But once we make that substitution, everything else works. The thing is, we truly don’t know where our car’s tires might be swept off to, when the roads are icy or even snow-packed. I’m a careful driver; but I have found myself off the road on a number of occasions, even though I was doing everything I was supposed to, in order to make sure that I was safe.

With that being the case, whenever we head out in our cars, in the wintertime, part of our personal protection needs to be to have whatever we need, to survive in our cars through the night, should we go off the road somewhere. That starts with making sure we have enough gasoline to run the engine for heat. But even if we can’t do that, we need to be able to keep ourselves warm. That means warm clothes, coats, hats, gloves and plenty of blankets. Add some survival rescue blankets and some duct tape to that, so that you can line the vehicle’s cabin with them, helping to hold in heat.

The last thing you want to do, should you go off the road, is to get out of your car, especially if you’re in the midst of a blizzard. Even stepping out far enough to pee could leave you stranded outside your car, if a gust of wind knocks you over and you lose your bearings. If you can’t see your car, how are you going to get back to it? If you have to go out of the car for some reason, like making sure your tailpipe isn’t blocked, then make sure you’re tethered to the steering wheel with a piece of rope.

Besides providing shelter for you, your car is going to be much easier for police to find, than you are, if you leave the car. Police officers are trained to look for signs of vehicles going off the road in a snowstorm and will be looking for any splotch of color that would indicate a car in a snowbank or that has gone over the side. Unless you fall down a cliff, it is unlikely that you would have to wait too many hours past sunrise, before an officer finds your car.

Communications is an important part of your ultimate rescue too. Always make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you’re expected to get there. If you don’t call them to tell them you’ve arrived, their job is to call the police and report that you might be off the road somewhere.

As I said, there’s much more to protect yourself from danger, than being ready to shoot it out with bad guys. Always make sure you’re prepared for any situation, especially in the wintertime, when going out your door can be dangerous. That’s why I’m always saying to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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