Emergency Provisioning

Last week one of the most horrific travel incidents happened around Fredericksburg, VA. Thanks to a freakishly fast drop in temperature the rainy, wet I-95 highway turned to an impassible sheet of ice and then quickly a snow covered mess. The travelers on that road and apparently the surrounding roads got stuck on the highway for 27 hours.

For anyone who has had the displeasure of driving between Richmond and Washington DC, that stretch of road is over crowded on the least crowded day. Add weather and those people were in a word, “screwed.” I have no idea how that disaster could have been prevented, but I am taking some lessons from the incident seriously.

In my many years of driving I have heard that we should have an emergency kit in our car. A quick look on Amazon and you will find many choices that include things like jumper cables, those little hammers to break windows, glow sticks, which I think are modern day flares. I have never carried any of those things in my car and on that day on I-95 they wouldn’t have done anyone any good. But other things in the kit like thermal blankets and gloves might have been helpful.

I pray that no one ever has to go through that kind of hell again, but hellish situations seem to happen much more often, like 500 year floods that occur every other year. I am no longer going to go on road trips without my own emergency kit. The first thing is I am going to make sure I always have a jug of water and some substantial snacks. Of course these snacks will have to be in the trunk so I don’t eat them unless there is an emergency. My sister gave me a solar charger, so that went right in the car. I also think I need to plan my gas/ potty beaks to be more often so at no time on a trip do I have less that 2/3’s of a tank of gas. Think of those poor people for 27 hours who ran out of gas.

Now comes the big things I think I need to take with me. First is a tent, not for sleeping in, but for the porta-potty I need to bring. If I have a gallon of water I most certainly and going to need a bathroom. Then there are the non-digital entertainment items, like books, both to read and to color in, with a cache of colored pencils. Needlepoint is always a good option that I usually have with me anyway. Then I think it would be nice to have real snuggly blankets and pillows, and that is for winter. If I were stopped in the summer I am sure I would like some kind of solar powered fan. Perhaps an eye mask so I could block out any light while I napped.

As I think about all these things I need for a road trip I realize I would have no room for my regular trip suitcase, let alone any other passengers. I think what I really need is a camper van. If I had a house on wheels being stopped for a period of time would not be a terrible inconvenience. At least I could cook and maybe I would have power to watch TV.

All this emergency planning makes staying home seem like the best thing to do. At least I should try and plan how not to drive on I-95 between Richmond and Washington.

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