Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Survive a Riptide or Mugging? Travel Motto: Be Prepared.

I always enjoy browsing stores for good deals and interesting items—just to see what I can find. While book-troving one day, I came across an interesting little read. It was only three dollars but in the end the book might actually save my life one day. 

A waterfall in the Costa Rican jungle
It’s called “The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel.” I’ve looked at the large edition of this book but had never purchased it. I’m always one to want to be prepared for whatever situation I might be faced with whether I’m in the Middle East on camel back or driving down a Louisiana highway.

In fact, since I was a child, I’ve developed this mentality—from the TV show, COPS, actually. My Dad used to watch that show constantly and my brother and I were right beside him. One day this female cop was patrolling and she shared an interesting insight to police mental concepts. 

She said while she’s patrolling she will create possible scenarios in her head of what could happen so she will be as mentally ready for action as possible. She passes a bank and thinks what if this bank was being robbed or what if I came upon a huge traffic accident. 

Woodland near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
This concept of being ready for anything stuck with me and I can say I’ve shared it since then. Okay, I don’t really think of bank robberies or hostage situations, but none-the-less I think what if this car had to slam on its brakes with no warning in close traffic or what if this (insert situation) happened. One of the best travel mottos is to be prepared. Click to tweet.

Some of the scenarios in the book are extremely far-fetched…I mean when do I expect to have to survive a UFO abduction, cross a piranha-infested river or navigate a minefield. Click to Tweet. You never know though. 

There are some useful scenarios listed though and who knows they could save your life and lives of others. Please no trying these techniques at home though for fun—only attempt to use them in last resort dangerous situations. 

One of the most important scenarios in the small book I think is: “How to Stop a Car With No Brakes,” (Click to Tweet.) which consists of:

1) Begin pumping the brake pedal and keep pumping it (Enough pressure may build up to slow the vehicle down and even stop)

2) Do not panic—relax and steer the car smoothly (Cars will often safely turn corners at high speeds; steer evenly)

3) Shift the car into the lowest gear possible and let the engine and transmission slow you down

4) If you are running out of room, try a “bootlegger’s turn” (yank the emergency brake hard while turning the wheel a quarter turn in either direction, which should make the car spin 180 degrees. Only for last resort use)

5) If you have room, swerve the car back and forth across the road (making hard turns at each side will decrease speed more)

6) Pull the emergency brake—but not too hard (use even, constant pressure. The car should slow down and eventually stop)

7) Look for something to help you stop (a flat or uphill road will slow you down and scraping the side of the car against a guardrail is another option)

8) If no step has worked and you are about to head over a cliff or huge intersection, try to hit something that will slow you down before you go as a last resort)

Another informative one is “How to Survive a Mugging” (Click to Tweet.): 

1) Do not argue or fight with a mugger unless your life is clearly in danger (if they only want your purse or wallet, surrender it)

2) if you are certain that your attacker means to do you or a loved one harm, attack vital areas of your assailant’s body (aim to disable him with a quick blow with fingers to eyes or driving knee to groin or slamming elbow into ribs, chest or face or stomping on the foot or scraping shin with foot.)

3) use an object as a weapon (most common objects can be used to hit a vital area as mentioned above, such as a stick, keys or even a car antenna)

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
Anyone going to the beach needs to know “How to Survive a Riptide” - the dangerous undertows of waves and currents (Click to Tweet.):

1) do not struggle against the current (most riptide deaths are caused by drowning)

2) do not swim in toward the shore (you will have to fight the current)

3) swim parallel to shore—across the current (usually a riptide is 100 feet wide so swimming beyond it should not be difficult

4) if you cannot swim out of the riptide, float on your back and allow the riptide to take you away from shore until you are beyond its pull and can swim around it 

5) once the riptide subsides, swim sideways and back to shore

On all our travels, whether abroad or at home, these types could save your life. I highly recommend checking out this little book and having back-up plans for survival.

For more about this book, click here

Do you have any travel tips to share? Have you been in a survival situation?

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