I was once in a vehicle that slammed into an eight foot snow burm, flipped to the right and rolled onto the top, spun in the center of the road, upside down, and finally came to a stop. I crawled out a broken window with two other people, unhurt, and quickly realized the next vehicle to come upon us in our snowy tunnel would kill us all…there was no place to go. I ran, in socked feet, a few hundred feet in three inches of slushy water running down an ice slicked highway. It was midnight on the exit ramp of the Seward Highway where it intersects with the Sterling Highway near Cooper Landing, Alaska.
For three hours we waited in the dark as freezing January rain poured down onto the ice at our feet while the tow truck, just forty miles away, tried to make it up the treacherous roadway. It wasn’t until much later I realized I must have been in shock to not have frostbit my stocking feet as we waited for our rescue.
Numerous near misses and frozen feet later, I’ve still not learned to carry emergency gear in my vehicle. And each time something goes wrong, I think…wow, I’m really stupid!
Tonight I hauled seven middle school basketball players to a dinner at their coach’s house, five miles up a winding dirt road. After we’d eaten I loaded them all back up and dropped them off at their homes, most of which are off the beaten path in the wilds of a Wintery Alaska.
While turning into a narrow backwoods driveway, I swung too far left and slid into the ditch. After some initial cussing, I stopped to assess the situation.
I had not a tow strap, a chain, a pair of gloves or a coat. I was without a flare, water, food, a lighter, or basic first aid. I had a flashlight…but only because the girls had played flashlight tag at the party. I had winter boots…but only because I’d needed them the day before and hadn’t remembered to take them out. And my cell phone was flashing red…on the brink of death.
I used the little juice I had left to dial someone who lived nearby and request a tug from the snow berm. We were rescued in short order and all was fine.
But what if it wasn’t? What if I’d not been near houses. What if my phone was long since dead. What if…what if?
The reality of it is…it’s stupid. I shouldn’t even be going to the post office without carrying emergency supplies. I definitely shouldn’t be driving on deserted backroads and I for sure shouldn’t be doing it with a vanload of children!
So this week I’ll make it a priority to stock each vehicle with emergency supplies. I’ll duct tape the lid so we’re not tempted to ‘borrow’ from the box. And I’ll use this forum to kindly remind all of YOU to do the same!