Safety First

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The other night when Ponzi’s plane came in extremely late, we were driving home and noticed a couple of cars. One was pulled over to the side of the road, and the other was upside-down. We were about the second car on the scene. Ponzi immediately grabbed her phone and dialed 911. Ponzi then got out of the car and walked up to the vehicle. By then, another vehicle had pulled over, as well. It was worrisome, because we had no idea if the occupants of the car were injured. However, the driver of this second car was a paramedic. I rummaged in my trunk for road flares, since we were on an Interstate… only to find I didn’t have any.

Within minutes, it was apparent that the driver of the car was completely intoxicated. It was also apparent that the car was totaled. The driver was lucky, and walked away without a scratch. This was a disconcerting experience. I’m glad the driver was physically unharmed. I felt completely unprepared for such an emergency, as this is the first time I’ve encountered something like this. You can bet that the following day, I bought road flares, and put together a small emergency kit. You just never know when disaster could strike.

A community member sent me an email right around this same time, describing a recent situation of his own. He was driving home from work during a major snowstorm. His vehicle ended up trapped in a snowbank (he was unharmed), halfway between the two places. He wanted to send me his top five tips to deal with emergency situations to share with all of you. These have been put together out of his personal experience.

  • Don’t make things worse, such as gunning your engine. It’s very easy in a situation like this to panic and do something that could make your situation harder.
  • Don’t automatically expect help. If no one is aware of your timetable, they won’t come looking for you. Someone WILL come along eventually, so just stay put.
  • Only act when you are rational. It isn’t easy to remain calm and rational when you are trapped in an emergency. Try to stay as calm as you can.
  • Enumerate your options. “What can I do?” “What will give me the best chance of success?” For instance, in the case of an earthquake, ask yourself if you can get yourself quickly to a safe place. In most emergency situations, you’ll be able to assess your situation quickly. Sometimes, the best option is to stay put.
  • Be prepared. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s just better to be prepared for the unexpected, because life happens to everyone. Have an emergency kit on hand, and keep it with you when traveling.

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13 thoughts on “Safety First”

  1. I have never experienced anything such as that first hand.. but I did lose a class mate in highschool to a similar type of accident where the supposed drunk driver got away. RIP Ari.

    James was only trying to help his family.. and in the end they were rescued… RIP James.

  2. They sell an emergency escape kit for vehicles if you can’t open your door or your seat belt is stuck it has a seat belt cutter and a hammer that can break the glass of your windows. Add that to the list of items

  3. Rather than flares, use triangle reflectors. Or at least make sure you have an “approved flare storage device. Back before cell phones, all our Sears trucks carried flares. We lost three trucks the first year due to flares rolling around and rubbing against each other – self-igniting!

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