Should You Shelter Inside Your Vehicle?
Let’s say you’re stuck somewhere for the night. Is it better to stay inside your vehicle or take your in-care gear bag and hustle out of there? Much of this choice depends on your own level of training, the gear you have, and the particular situation you’re in.
Being in a car gives a sense of security, because you’re protected from the elements and have some comfort. But . . . there can be detrimental reasons why you would not want to stay in your vehicle.
The vehicle could become a trap. If you’re surrounded by a mob, you might not have a way to get out.
If there’s a broken window, the car will let in the cold outside air. Can you patch up that broken window with a piece of cardboard or an emergency blanket?
The car holds in the cold. Cars don’t hold in heat, so not staying warm is a real concern. If you’re out of the car, you can possibly gather wood and use your fire starter to make a sheltering fire.
The vehicle is conductive metal. It’s a myth that the rubber tires on a car protect a vehicle from lightning strikes. A fully enclosed metal vehicle is safe, as long as you’re not touching any part of the metal frame in the event that there is a lightning strike–this means no touching door and window handles, steering wheels, gear shifts, etc. In order for this to be effective, the windows must be closed. Vehicles can still be damaged by a strike.
Close off part of the space. An emergency blanket doesn’t take up much space and they’re cheap. Get a few extra a keep them in the car. You can use these to close off the back or front of your car’s space to make it easier to stay warm. Plus, you might have extra people in your car (kid’s birthday party? or whatever) and you’ll need more than one blanket just for yourself.
If you have to vacate your vehicle, is your gear accessible? Get your bag out of the trunk and keep it nearby. Ahead of time, sort through whatever’s in there and make sure you know what’s in there and how to use it.
Think through scenarios. Based on where you live and the weather, think through what might happen and what you need. If it’s rainy or hot, think about those things and prepare for them. If you have to cross bridges to get home, think about what you might do if you can’t use the bridge. Thinking things through helps your brain to be more able to maintain when there really is an emergency.