*My Get-Home (Car Bag) Story*
February 12, 2015 I was traveling home from work around 11:15 p.m. on an Interstate that I travel twice daily. All of a sudden the traffic stopped. As time passed the 18-wheelers started shutting down their engines and most cars followed suit. I knew we were going to be awhile.
I looked on the live traffic update app on my phone and saw something had the interstate totally blocked about half-a-mile ahead of me. Thirty minutes into this, several hundred cars were filling three lanes of interstate, and no one was going anywhere.
An hour passed and I had already made the assumption it was a horrible accident. Four ambulances and multiple emergency vehicles had whizzed passed me on the shoulder of the interstate.
Going into the second hour of sitting, I started running-down what I had in my car "get home bag".
On my body I had a heavy sweater, pants, walking shoes, extra medicines in my purse, EDC handgun and extra ammo.
In my car was 3/4 of a tank of gas and a charged cell phone.
We continued to sit.
Another 30 minutes passed and I started seeing brake lights in my mirrors. The police had started turning cars around – heading them in the wrong direction – to get off the Interstate at the exit closest to them.
An officer reached my car and told me what was going on.
Officer: Hello Ma'am, due to the accident ahead of you, we're going to help you get turned around and go back to the exit. You'll actually exit of onto the normal on-ramp.
Me: Must be a really bad accident.
Officer: Yes Ma'am. Worst I've seen in my 20 years.
Officer continues: (as another Officer helps a Greyhound bus get turned around behind me)...
The accident involved multiple cars and multiple fatalities. We have to get the traffic moving again. Most people don't have enough gas in their car to sit here four to five hours, much less warm clothing, food, or water. We don't worry as much about the "big trucks" 'cause they have enough fuel usually, but not the cars. And that bus must get moving again – too many people on that thing to leave it sitting. Plus the temperature is dropping and we don't need a lot of cars sitting here unable to idle and stay warm.
Me: You really think people are that unprepared for an incident that could hold-them-up for only four to five hours?
Officer: No Ma'am I don't think it... I know it. I've seen it too many times. Ok now, we're going to help you get turned around now, stay in the emergency lane, and exit to your left. You'll be directed from there back in the right direction.
I drove back to the nearest exit which was a little erie as I passed all these "big trucks" just sitting sporadically in the lanes. All the cars behind me were gone... it was just trucks.
Driving home I thought, "Wow, my preparedness efforts could have been put to good use tonight. A bag that I carry with me daily (and rotate out every 6 months), in the trunk, goes with me on trips (even if I'm in someone else's vehicle); could have truly been my ticket to surviving a long stay on the Interstate.The most simple example of surving a situation! Why do folks think their cars are safe passages from point A to B without any prior thought.
I've used this true story with family members and friends since. Most look at me with amazement and I still wonder why. I guess they are the ones that think their car is safe passage. But, it's not. And this is a very simple example.
My Car bag has way too much stuff in it. I know this. But, it rides around with me. If I had to walk with it, I'd have to leave some things behind. However, since it only takes up trunk space, I figured I might as well pack it full of useful items for various situations.
This particular situation only required the very basics... water, food, clothing, shoes, cash, protection, flashlight, medicine needs, and fuel in the car. This basic bag could be put together for under $45 and that includes the $20 (small bills) inside it.
The particulars of what is in the bag for this instance, is immaterial. It's the fact that I had the minimums I needed for this particular situation... (water, food, light, gas, appropriate clothing).
Preparedness to me is peace-of-mind... on any level, and this was the most basic. If you don't have the very basics in your car, do so now, as this incident could happen to you the next time you get in your car headed down "Any Road, Interstate USA."Vikis
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