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Posts tagged with: emergency kit

Rain and Gusting and Ice: How to Drive in Bad Weather

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Picture the ideal day for driving. It’s probably mild and bright without a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, the weather rarely complies with our driving wants and needs. Most peoples’ first choice would be to stay off the road during inclement weather, but sometimes life beckons. Whether you’re commuting to work or embarking on a road trip when a storm hits, how can you prepare for bouts of bad weather and keep yourself–as well everyone else on the road–safer?

Plan Well Ahead of Time

You can’t control the weather, but you can certainly control your preparedness for any situation you encounter on the road. Before you leave the house, check the weather. Sunny skies could turn to thunderous clouds over the course of a few hours. Look into all possible routes to see if you can avoid the worst of the storm, and leave early so you have enough time to reach your destination without rushing.

Bad weather is not the time to discover that you have a vehicle malfunction. J.D. Power recommends having your vehicle checked more frequently during seasons of bad weather like winter, and making sure that your windshield wipers, headlights, and mirrors are in working order before you pull out of the driveway.

If you live in a cold climate, pack a winter survival kit in case your vehicle gets stuck or disabled in the snow. The basics include, but are not limited to:

  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Energy-rich snack foods
  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • Grainy material for traction
  • First aid kit and pocket knife

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

A little rain never hurt anyone, right? When it comes to driving, wet roads and impaired vision actually increase the likelihood of an accident. Almost everywhere in the U.S. experiences rain at least once a year, and some states can expect steady annual downfall. One of the best preventative measures you can take is increasing the space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Edmunds suggests aiming for a six-second gap to be on the safe side. If wet and humid conditions create fog, use your low beams to maximize visibility.

Hold onto Your Hat

It’s not just obvious tornado and hurricane-induced winds that drivers need to consider. Hurricane winds are considered 74 mph or faster, but the weather service puts out advisories for much lower speeds. In wind-prone states like Florida, the advisory covers sustained winds between 25-39 mph, or gusts at 57 mph. Robert Molleda of the National Weather Service explains some associated risks: “If winds are above 30-35 mph for extended periods of time, it can be an issue for high-profile vehicles on bridges and overpasses. Also, tall objects such as construction cranes can be hazardous in those winds.”

Sounds like a recipe for potential damages, doesn’t it? As for driving in gusty conditions, The Telegraph suggests that drivers should ease off the gas, brake steadily, and hold the steering wheel firmly to maintain control against the onslaught. It goes without saying that windy occasions are not the time to speed or tailgate. Even so, drivers can’t always react in time to others on the road or blowing debris. Drivers need to protect their vehicles and themselves against these weather-associated risks by having adequate insurance coverage, not just the minimum required by law. For example, if you’re in the Sunshine state, legal Florida auto insurance only equates to PIP, or personal injury protection coverage. However, chances are you’d need more coverage than that if you were involved in a weather-related accident.

Ice, Ice Baby

Snow and ice are beautiful from the vantage point of a warm house, but the story is much different from inside a car. Follow these guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) whenever possible to reduce risk when your tires are on ice or snow:

  • Steer into a skid
  • Stomp on antilock brakes and pump non-antilock brakes
  • Give yourself longer stopping distances
  • Rehearse maneuvers during the daylight in an empty lot
  • Avoid fatigue and rotate drivers when possible

With proper preparation, the right protective measures, and practiced defensive driving skills, you’ll be more ready to take on the elements in your vehicle. It’s preferable to stay home, but if you absolutely have to be out and about, stay safe and slow down.


How to Create an Emergency Kit to Complement Your Debt Reduction Journey

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This is a guest post from Carolyn at Totally Ready. She blogs all about being prepared for an emergency. I’ve been thinking of getting ourselves a little more prepared for the unexpected, so this is a timely guest post. I hope you enjoy!

After hurricane Katrina I became very concerned when I could not find a good 72 hour kit to recommend to people who asked me where the best place was to purchase one. So…I began my own preparedness business. I kept feeling there was more to do and I resurrected a blog I had abandoned. It soon became clear that if families were going to prepare for disaster they also needed ways to save money so they could afford the items they would need to purchase. Now my blog is about saving money, making money and preparing. I feel all go hand in hand and you really can’t be debt free unless you are prepared to care for all the needs of your family.

I believed in and practiced storing food long before the government encouraged us all to have a 3 month supply. It has gotten us through job losses, unexpected illness and now we are using it to keep our food budget under control as prices rise. As I watch the flooding in the center of the country and remember the blizzards, power outages and tornadoes this winter I am more convinced this is the time to prepare to care for our family during a time or natural disaster or a terrorist attach.

Get yourself a good 72 hour kit. You should have a kit for every member of your family. Even very young children can carry some of their own things. It is so important that during a time of high stress for you that they feel safe. Having their own kit will give them the sense that things will be okay. Their kits should include a small toy, a few clothes, a treat, a little water and their own diapers if they are still needed. All things you should already have around the house. You can purchase some small backpacks that have adjustable straps making them perfect for young children.

If you have elderly or disabled parents or friends get them a fishing vest for their kit. These vests have several small pockets that are perfect for stashing medications and other necessary items.

So what can you do now for free? First, run off a list of items which should be included in a good 72 hour kit.

Try a scavenger hunt tonight. Begin by collecting all the unused backpacks around the house. Eliminate any that are too small or too damaged. You will want room for everything on that list so make sure you don’t skimp on the size. If you don’t have enough back packs place all your items in a large trash bag until you can afford to purchase more packs. Now you can begin with the other items. We all have some: flashlights, whistles, TP, hygiene items, clothing, hats, sunglasses, prescription and over the counter medications. Once you have the list you will understand how many items you already have.

Just a few tips:

When you add clothing to your kit be sure the clothing for children is always at least one size too big, two sizes is better. The same holds true for diapers. You can always make something too large work but if it is too small you are sunk! NEVER include clothing with your family or a child’s name on it. In other words no old jerseys. During the confusion of a disaster you may be separated from your child and you don’t want them advertising their names. It makes it too easy for a predator to convince your child that it is safe to leave with them.

When adding food be sure you do not add foods that are salty. During an emergency there will be limited water available. This is also the reason you never want to add instant foods. There just won’t be water to reconstitute that oatmeal or ramen noodles. Be aware of expiration dates. I suggest you purchase emergency foods that are rated with a 3-5 year shelf life. You will end up spending more money if you store foods that need to be rotated and you forget. Emergency foods will last much longer than the 3-5 years suggested. There are energy bars that taste just like cookies and everyone I have given them to loves them. MREs are also a good choice. Canned foods weigh too much and glass jars are an obvious no no.

Glow sticks are wonderful. They are inexpensive, safe when there are gas leaks and have so many uses at other times. We use ours when there is a power outage. They light up the bathroom and hall ways all night while still being safe, unlike candles.

When adding soap, lotions, diaper rash med or other strong smelling item always put them in a separate zip lock bag. If you have food from the grocery store in your kit it will all end up tasting like the soap! Even mints and cinnamon candies will have your food tasting minty and cinnamony.

Bottom line, begin today to prepare your family for any emergency which may occur. If it all seems overwhelming check out my Seven Steps program. Each week we do seven things, some free, some not, to be better prepared. Be sure to check out the post for week 6 and look at all we accomplished in just 6 weeks. You can go back and start with our kickoff week or just begin now. The important thing, just like getting out of debt, just get started.

Thanks again Carolyn for the guest article!