Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Heather and I went to see a concert last week featuring Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, and AFI.  We arrived early, found a great parking space, and made our way into the venue.  From 6:30 to 11:00, thousands of people cheered and clapped and sang together, and we were all bound together by the music.  When the final song ended, everyone made their way to the parking lot, still laughing and smiling and everything seemed wonderful.

Unfortunately, that’s where everything fell apart.

It seems that when we’re all elbow to elbow in a crowded venue people act much differently than when they’re isolated in their own 2 ton automobiles.  Sure, nobody likes traffic.  I get that.  It sucks that you spend 4 hours listening to great music at an awesome event only to have to spend another hour or two in the parking lot trying to go back home to your regular life.  But we don’t have to resort to blowing our horns and threatening each other do we?

I tried to be nice and let other polite drivers in front of me when I could, knowing it was just going to be a long night either way.  Unfortunately, some drivers were extremely aggressive and there was more than one moment where I started thinking defensively, looking for anything in my car that I could use to defend myself.  It got me thinking about safety behind the wheel and what you should do when you’re confronted by an aggressive driver.

I did a quick Google search and here’s some information I found that I think everyone should be aware of regarding aggressive drivers:

  • Don’t respond to the aggressive driver and avoid eye contact.
  • Don’t challenge the driver by speeding up or slowing down in traffic.
  • Allow aggressive drivers to pass you by changing lanes or pulling over if possible.  Avoiding aggressive drivers is often the safest option.
  • Call the authorities to report aggressive driving.  There may be nothing they can do but if the driver is in an accident down the road at least they’ll have a record of someone driving recklessly.
  • Always wear your seat belt.  Every safety feature in your vehicle is designed around the idea that you’re wearing your seatbelt.
  • Most importantly, don’t get out of your vehicle.  You’re inside a big box of metal and glass.  It’s a lot more protection than you have outside.

Most of it is common sense, but in that moment when you’re confronted and the adrenaline starts pumping, it’s easy to act irrationally.  Driving is probably the most dangerous thing the majority of us do every day, so knowing how to safely deal with bad situations is very important.

What are some other suggestions for dealing with aggressive drivers?  Do you have a story about an encounter you had?  Let me know in the comments.

National Road Safety


Today was one of the busiest days I’ve had at this job.  Couple that with last nights awful migraine and you can guess I’m fairly tired this evening.  I’ll be honest the blog wasn’t top priority today but keeping true to my word, here’s the next survival tip from the book Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.

56)  Get Out of a Skid

Everyone who has driven for a while develops a sense of safety while behind the wheel.  We get into bad habits and think that we don’t need to be paying complete attention.  One thing that can wake up even the most comfortable drivers out there is losing control of your vehicle.  “The first sign of a skid may not come until you suddenly lose control and end up heading sideways down the highway.  To regain control, try this:”

  1. Avoid The Brakes:  You may be tempted to slam on the brakes as soon as you feel yourself losing control.  That’s natural because you want to slow the vehicle down.  Unfortunately, if the wheels are sliding across the pavement already, slamming on the brakes will only compound your problems.
  2. Turn The Wheel:  While it may not make sense at first, to recover from a skid you need to turn the wheel gently in the direction of the skid.  For example, if the back of your car starts sliding to the left, turn your wheels to the left.
  3. Use the Gas:  Another counter-intuitive concept when you’ve lost control of your vehicle is to use the accelerator.   You might want to slow the vehicle as quickly as possible, but lightly pushing the gas can help bring things under control.  This works because your wheels begin turning again and can start pulling your vehicle in the direction you want.  Just don’t go crazy because too much acceleration could cause you to skid even more.

I’ve been driving for 13 years now; 7 behind the wheel of a car and 6 before that when I raced go-karts.  In my opinion, the best thing anyone can do is get out there and drive.  Don’t be afraid to drive, but always be cautious.  Know what your vehicle is capable of as well as yourself.  I know that my car can handle snow (unless its really deep) and rain without any trouble but ice is a step too far.  I also know that I can recover fairly quickly if something happens.  However, even though I know I can react quickly, I know where my limits are.  I always try to avoid testing those limits when possible.  I’m always cautious and pay close attention while driving.  After all, like Tyrion Lannister, I believe there are far better ways to die than in a car accident . . .

The moral of my previous paragraph is this:  You can’t get comfortable driving unless you drive.  Practice makes perfect in every aspect of life, from guns to cars.  Recovering from a skid with little to no driving experience is probably highly unlikely.  And the odds of you remembering what you read here word for word and then applying it during a skid is even more unlikely . . .

I’ve decided to combine these two tips into one because they’re so short.  As a result, there will be no survival post tomorrow.  The good news however is that after tonight we’ll be halfway through our list of 111 survival tips/strategies.  Only 56 remain!

54)  Steer With Blown Tires

When a tire suddenly goes flat or blows out, “fight the urge to overcorrect or to slam on the brakes”.  Doing so could cause the vehicle to skid and compound your problems.

Instead of panicking, “hold the steering wheel firmly”.  Slowly back off the accelerator and turn on your signal while you attempt to maneuver toward the shoulder.  When you’re safely off the road, turn on your emergency (also called hazard or 4-way) lights to warn those approaching your vehicle.

55)  Deal With Brake Failure

Brakes are essential to the safe operation of any vehicle.  Suddenly losing them while driving is not an easy thing to prepare for but here are some things to remember.

Don’t turn off the vehicle or remove the keys – While shutting off your vehicle would be a good thing to do if the throttle was stuck, turning off the vehicle will cause the power steering to stop working as well.  Driving with no power steering is a workout to say the least.  Also, removing the keys from the ignition will lock the steering column in most vehicles, making it impossible for you to steer your way to safety.  Never remove the keys while the vehicle is in motion.

Slow down – Keep your foot off the accelerator and try to manage turns and traffic the best you can.  If possible, shift to a lower gear.  Lower gears will help slow your vehicle greatly and even vehicles with automatic transmissions are capable of doing this.  Apply the emergency brake very slowly; applying it quickly can cause you to lock the wheels up and lose control of the vehicle all together.

This post is a combination of my own knowledge and experience as well as information provided in the book Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.

This is the last of the fire safety tips I promise.  Its a really short one too.  After this we move into some vehicle safety tips that I think will be pretty interesting.  In the next week or so we should be getting into some of the more exciting tips.

53)  Smother a Fire

“Fires need three things to thrive: heat, air, and fuel”.  If you are able to remove any one of these items, the fire will go out.  One of the quickest way to extinguish a small fire is to smother it and remove the air flow.

To do this effectively you need a heavy blanket or coat that is large enough to cover the whole fire.  If its too big to cover don’t waste time trying to fight it, just get out.  If its a small fire however, take your blanket or coat and throw it over the fire.

Immediately follow that by pressing down forcefully.  If you leave your blanket or coat just lightly on top of the fire it will only help feed it.  Pressing down hard will force the air out and prevent the fire from growing.

This post is a combination of my own knowledge and opinions, as well as information found in the book Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.  Never attempt to fight a fire unless you’re certain it can be safely stopped.  Whenever possible you should get your family to safety and then immediately call 911.  Let the professionals do their job.

Just finished adding the 7.62×39 section to my Ammo Availability page this evening.  Go on over and check it out.  I’d love to hear feedback on the formatting so far.  Let me know if my anchors are working correctly and please let me know if any of the links are broken.  Over the next few days the other sections will be filled in as well.

50)  Use a Fire Extinguisher

In the last update we talked about how to fight a fire.  Fire extinguishers were discussed a lot so now its time we cover how to properly use a fire extinguisher.  The basic steps that you need to remember form the word PASS:  “Pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep”.

  1. Pull the safety pin from the handle.
  2. Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the handle in “short bursts of spray to knock down the flames and longer pulls to fully extinguish them”.
  4. Sweep back and forth while spraying the fire until it is completely extinguished.

Click here to watch a video on how to use a fire extinguisher.  Often I find that videos are easier to understand.  Using a fire extinguisher is really simple, but hopefully you never need to  use one.

51)  Escape a Burning House

“The key to surviving a fire in your home is having an effective plan in place before the smoldering starts”.  Preparation is key to preventing all disasters so a fire escape plan should be the first thing on your list for fire safety.

  • Know Where to Go:  The smoke produced by a fire will make it extremely difficult to see.  You’ll want to make sure that you’re very familiar with the layout of your home as well as where all the exits are.
  • Stay Low:  Heat and smoke both rise.  If a fire breaks out, you need to get close to the floor.  Inhaling smoke and exposure to extreme heat can be fatal.  If possible you should also try to “cover your mouth and nose with a damp cloth to help reduce smoke inhalation”.
  • Anticipate:  When there is a fire in your home, never assume the area outside your room’s door is safe.  Touch the surface of the door and not the doorknob to check for heat.  If there is a gap under your door, look to see if there are any visible flames.  “If you have any doubts, head to a secondary exit”.
  • Shun Stairs:  “If you’re trapped in an upper level of a house, get out through a window”.  Any exits above the first floor should have escape ladders ready just in case.  Stairways “can act like a chimney, funneling heat and smoke upward”.
  • Don’t Be a Hero:  “Under no circumstances should you remain inside to fight a blaze”.  Don’t try to put out a fire if everyone can get out to safety.  Evacuate and call 911 immediately.  “Let the professionals take care of putting out the flames”.

52)  Stock Fire Safety Gear

In addition to the basics like fire extinguishers and smoke alarms you should have a few other things.  Consider “these fire-safety extras”:

  • Collapsible Fire-Escape Ladders:  As mentioned in the tip above, stairways can become dangerous and you should never try to use them unless you have no other options.  If you have a roll-up ladder stored in each room of the upper floors, you should be good to go.  Simply open the window, hook the ladder to the windowsill, and climb down.
  • Firefighter Alert Signs:  If a fire is consuming your home and you’re trapped inside, it may be impossible to communicate with those who are coming to save you.  Having stickers or signs (like the one over to the right) that can alert firefighters that children and pets are inside is a very good idea.  If they don’t know who or what is inside, they can’t know how many victims they’re looking for.
  • Fire Safe:  Every home should have a safe that is both fireproof and waterproof.  You should store copies off important documents (birth certificates, property titles, sentimental items, etc) inside to keep them safe.  You can find these safes in just about every size imaginable.

This post is a combination of my own knowledge and opinions and information that is included in the book Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.  Fire safety is very important and certainly not something you should skimp on.  Spend some extra time and money to prepare before you need it and wish you had it.

By the time we finish this series of fire-based tips, we’ll all be sick of this.  So far we’ve covered two, smoke detectors and making your home “fire-safe”.  The rest of the series will include today’s, electrical fires, as well as 5 more.  If I can find a way to combine a few of the upcoming ones I will.

48)  Prevent Home Electrical Fires

Inside the walls of our homes are lots of different wires and cables.  This is what keeps your home well lit and helps it function efficiently.  Unfortunately these things can also destroy your home if you aren’t careful.

Watch The Lights:  “If lights are flickering on and off, or if they make noise or give off a smoky odor, you’ve probably got faulty wiring”.  You should have this checked out as soon as possible to avoid electrical fires.  Find a licensed electrician and have them check the wiring in your home.

Visit Your Fuse Box:  You should be very familiar with your fuse box’s location as well as its function.  If the lights cut off all of a sudden and you have to reset the breaker, you’ll want to know where it is.  While you’re familiarizing yourself with it, make sure there aren’t any terminals with multiple wires going into them.  Also, check for corrosion and ensure all the insulation around any wires is in good shape.  If not, either fix it or hire an electrician.

Pick The Right Plugs:  When possible, use electrical plugs that are grounded.  Grounded plugs and sockets have 3 prongs and are safer than those with only 2.  “If your home doesn’t have grounded outlets, have an electrician install them”.

Check For Pests:  Rodents, like mice and rats, love to chew on things, especially wires and cables.  While they might not chew entirely through a wire (though they could) they may very well remove the insulation, exposing the wire inside.  This can lead to sparks or other problems that may lead to a fire.

Always be careful when working with electricity.  Alternating current can be extremely dangerous so if you’re not trained or very well informed, don’t try to fix any electrical issues by yourself.  Waiting for an electrician to come and check things out is far better than putting your life in danger.

This post is a combination of my own opinions and information that was provided in the book, Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.  Never trust anything you read online without doing your own research.  I try to provide unbiased opinions and information that is as correct as possible but I can’t promise anything I write is safe or even correct.  Its your life so always be careful and don’t take anything for granted.

If you’ve been following these updates you know that yesterday I said I was going to get my smoke detectors working again.  Well I did it, so no need to worry about that now.  One less thing on my to-do list.

47)  Make Your Home Fire-Safe

“Home fires are scary stuff, but they’re largely preventable.  Follow these guidelines and fret no more”:

Watch Appliances – Keep appliances that get hot (your toaster, coffeemaker, space heater, etc) away from flammable objects and sources of water like the sink or tub.  Unplug them when not in use.  Anything that has a filter or vent should be checked and cleaned frequently as well.

Beware The Gas – If you use natural gas in your home, make sure all of your fittings are tight.  Check the pilot light often and as always, if you smell the slightest hint of gas, get your system checked by a professional immediately.  Leaks can become deadly if not repaired.

Keep A Tidy Hearth – If you use a fireplace (like we do) to heat your home, have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year before winter starts.  Be sure to keep glass doors or mesh screens in front of hearths that don’t have enclosed stoves to keep sparks in with the fire and not on your rug.

Cook Smart – “Never leave a stove burner unattended”.  Period.  It only takes a second for a fire to start and if you’re not close by to put it out things can quickly get out of hand.  “Most house fires are started by unattended stovetops”.  Don’t become just another statistic.

The book also has a quote from Rich Johnson that I’d like to share:  “A basic rule of combustion:  If it can burn, it will.  Try not to get cremated until you’re already dead”.  I thought that was a humorous way to discuss a serious matter.

Fires are very dangerous and extremely destructive.  My friend lost everything he had a while back when his house burnt down.  Insurance helps rebuild, but it doesn’t prevent, and it can never replace what’s lost.  A little bit of extra caution goes a long way.

This post is a combination of my own knowledge and opinions as well as information provided in Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.  Always use your better judgement and act safely at all times.  Your home is your castle; it protects you a whole lot more than any tent ever could, so make sure you take care of it.