Editor’s Note–With the unusually hot weather so many of us have been experiencing recently, this post from Duncan Morrison provides good advice for more than just teenagers.
The beach is a good place to cool off, but the fact is, you have to get there first. My 17 year old thought he knew it all until he broke down on the side of the road about an hour from home; not telling anyone where he went and being too proud (or too scared) to call Dad for help. Long story short, he spent several hot hours in the car, but fortunately our preparation saved him while he waited for his friends to come get him.
I want other parents to know how to prepare their child’s car for the extreme heat. We live in a populated district, but the drive to the beach takes you through a more remote area. It could have been worse, but luckily, my child had what he needed only because we thought ahead. Don’t let kids tell you they are fine. Plan for them and teach them along the way.
Teach Them to Check Themselves First
We always take about three minutes to make sure the car is ready to go and everything is in its place. I taught the kids some steps to follow to prepare for any emergency situation.
- Walk around the car and look for any signs of problems like flat tires. Make sure there is a full tank of gas and that everything sounds normal when you turn it on.
- Check yourself – Are you dressed for the weather? Do you have a fully charged cell phone? Maps?
- Is there an emergency kit in the car? If not, get it in there!
That is what I make them do before leaving the house every time. Moreover, even if they do not want to tell me, I make sure the kids leave a route plan with someone so I know where to find them if they need help.
What to Do If You Get Stuck
If the vehicle breaks down in the extreme heat, it’s important to avoid problems and improve your chance of survival. Here are my tips for doing this.
- If it’s still running, turn the car off to conserve fuel. Keep the windows open enough to allow plenty of airflow and call for help right away.
- Place flags on the door handle, flares around the car and fluorescent markers safely.
- Keep the radio off and stay in the car. The vehicle has supplies you need (we pack an emergency kit that stays in the car.)
- Don’t play hero. Don’t leave the vehicle unless your flagging down help.
I think it is important for kids to know that what they see in the movies is not what you should do. Getting out and walking does not make you smart.
What’s in the Car Matters Most
I feel that kids and adults need to have a fully prepared survival kit to help protect them when on the road. The only way to do that is to ensure you think ahead and prepare. Most of what you need is in the emergency kit, which you can purchase pre-made or put together yourself. These are some of the items you may want to include:
- Food and water for at least three days- extra water in extreme heat
- Flares, candles with a butane lighter and/or matches
- Blankets – because it can get cold at night
- Maps of the area you’re travelling in
- A fully charged cell phone (and a car charger in case it runs out)
Here is the thing that most parents do not realize. Their kids are going to listen to them. I make sure to set the rules from the start by allowing my kids to see me check the car. I also make sure they know how to pack an emergency kit (or more than one), so that they know what’s really in there and how to use it. As Roald Amundsen said, “Adventure is just poor planning.” Don’t make your next trip an adventure.
About the Author
Having been through a tornado, plane crash, tsunami evacuation, and over 40 years of bitter winters, Duncan Morrison has some experience with assessing the potential for a disaster and preparing for it. He also likes to provide quality information to readers by writing about emergency preparedness and survival planning. He provides information on emergency auto kits – click here for more – and you can also click here for details on emergency kits for your home. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, working out and walking his dog, Sammy – the “best dog EVER”.
If the links in the above paragraph don’t work for you, be sure to find a variety of emergency kits for car and home from www.1800prepare.com.
Do you have advice for traveling safely when summer heat is on? Leave a comment below so others can benefit from your experience.