As a young person I would become excited when my parents started the plans for our next vacation. I never gave a thought of survival and personal security. I did not realize it at the time, but my dad planned the trip so as we would not be on the road after dark. We would stay the night in the same town on the way out and on the way back. My dad took a route he was totally familiar with, knew where the gas stations and decent motels were and the best eating establishments.
My Dad is a survivor of WWII who learned some survival techniques serving in the US Navy in the South Pacific. He used this experience to keep us safe.
Survival and Personal Security
When I travel out of town it is just second nature to me to be prepared for whatever I may encounter or is thrown at me. I have a “Bug-out bag” I toss into the back seat with my traveling backpack. Since I motor around in a 4-wheel drive pickup, I have a full size toolbox in the bed with all the tools for fixing and breaking things. I have the survival tools needed to make it through any rough periods I am forced to experience. The Bug-out bag contains mainly items needed for personal security. In another article later on, I will explain the contents of the toolbox and Bug-out bag.
Planning for Survival and Personal Security
When you plan to travel beyond 100 miles from home, the number one task to complete is planning every step of the way. Here are the tasks to be completed:
- Vehicle: Personally inspect the vehicle you are going to travel in or on. Make sure all fluids are at the full mark. Make sure your tires are in good shape and have at least .250 (1/4) inches of depth in the tread. Stick a penny into the tread to measure the depth.
- Have the proper tools to make emergency repairs to your vehicle i.e. hand tools, duck-tape, wire and Jumper Cables. Road flares of 45 min duration.
- Personal Use Products: Have emergency water, toilet paper, and foodstuff. (Meals Ready to Eat).
- Emergency First Aid Kit. (A kit with trauma bandages.)
- Two flashlights with extra batteries.
- Have sleeping Bag/s (One for each traveler.)
- Tarp of at least 8’X10’ in size.
- Cell phone/s chargers (Make sure they work for your phone.)
- Keep your fuel tank above ¼ of a tank.
- Paper map or maps in my experience are best as smart phones are not always correct.
- A tool for personal protection, i.e. handgun, shotgun or rifle plus extra ammo of at least 50 rounds. I recommend a handgun you have trained with.
- Pick a route you know well, where there is fuel, food and rooms.
- Tell at least two trusted people your plans of when you are leaving, where you will be stopping and when you expect to arrive. On the return trip, repeat this step.
Highways to Avoid
No matter what you think or have read, take it from a career law enforcement officer when I tell you Interstate Highways are a predator’s playground. Career predators travel these highways in search of victims. Like predators of the wild, they look for the weak or what they consider would be a weak victim or victims. They look for people driving alone. Of these alone drivers, they look for female drivers or even better female drivers with children. They look for older victims who appear to be slower and too trusting.
The predators will pick their victims by observation and assessment. Generally, they will observe at rest stops, gas stations, motels. They will strike up an innocent short conversation as a further assessment. “Are you traveling far? I have a long way to go and I am getting tired. I am visiting my sister and her family. How about you?” Any information they can get from you will be a help. It is best to use restrooms at busy stores where you can buy fuel.
Predators like the Interstate system because once they commit the crime, they can drive away and be a hundred plus miles before the crime scene is discovered. If you are accosted and they take you to another location, 100 percent of the time they will kill you. So if they try and take you it is time to fight with whatever you have. If you are going to die, it might as well be right where you stand.
If you are planning a trip of 100 miles or more, make sure your vehicle is fully serviced and has very dependable tires. Make sure you have the resources in or on this vehicle which can be used in case of a breakdown, emergency or other event which impedes you from continuing. Be able to defend yourself. Inform others of your travel plans and phone numbers. If at all possible, stay off the Interstate Highways and take State Highways where county and local officers patrol more heavily. In the small communities the local people are more apt to assist you.
If an emergency happens or if you feel threatened, call “911”. If you have a signal, the 911 dial will reach a law enforcement communication center. Try to not travel later than 8pm in the evening. You should be in your motel room watching television by this time. If any one person or persons show too much interest in you and your plans, take steps to avoid them. Drive around a city block making right hand turns and then another block making left hand turns. If you believe they are following you, go back to the public area and call 911. On the phone give them the facts and your observations. Ask to see an officer. The police will not think less of you.
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