The place of Adventure, Travel to East Africa: Djibouti,
India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Kenya, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus and Disneyland.
Now adding Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan and Disneyland. Mexico and
Disaster, Earthquake and Emergency Preparedness and Services for San Francisco.
We also like Disneyland.
Bill's Safe Driving Page
Too many friends have lost their lives en route to or from their adventures and many have been injured, some badly. Wild Animals? Savage Natives? Airplanes crashed in the Andes? Nope. Car crashes and problems.
You won't find me heading to the deep woods without my trusty revolver, and you won't find me in Mombassa without Malaria pills. You won't go wrong if you make driving safety habits a way of life.
Driving safely is more than avoiding crashes, though it's very important. Also consider the consequence of being stranded on a snow bound road en route, stuck in the desert unable to get out, or being unable to prevent a small accident from becoming a major front page story
Purchase the right vehicle. If you EVER think you MIGHT drive on a dirt road or in the snow, a 4 wheel drive with mud and snow tires is a must.
Buy a set of snow chains for your tires and put them on. Today. Chains need to be fitted to your tires, and this is very difficult to do on a snowy roadside. Chain installers charge a lot to do this fitting at the chain control station. Chains are a must even with 4WD. You may never need them, but I have used them on my 4WD Jeep. At the time, I was virtually the only vehicle moving in Tahoe Valley.
Buy some red or white REFLECTIVE tape and install an ample amount on the door's latch side. This way, when your doors are opened, it's very obvious to vehicles coming up behind you. Do the same to your trunk lid or rear cargo hatch. CHP officers may ask if you're some kind of traffic yahoo, but they'll secretly wonder where you got the good idea. I got this from a friend of mine who is a CHP Officer. Smart. It works.
Don't put red or blue reflective tape on the front of your vehicle, as the Police take a dim view of you appearing like an emergency vehicle if you're not one. This makes a certain amount of sense!
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS is a MUST as you move about. For most people this means a cell phone, and that's fine in most cases. Buy a vehicle charger so you have communication if you are stranded with the vehicle, are camping, or whatever. A cell phone with dead batteries is useless. For more discussion on emergency communications, read the emergency communications section.
Things to have
Emergency equipment must be kept right at hand, or at least, in the trunk. Keep these items ready for use at a moment's notice:
Things to do and live by
Always keep your vehicle in top shape. Most of the time you see someone stranded by the side of the road, its because of some stupidity. Either the vehicle was improperly maintained, ran out of gas, or crashed into something. The remainder were hit BY something.
BREAKDOWNS: Most of these problems could be prevented by proper maintenance. Maintaining your vehicle using your owner's manual on a 3000 mile schedule will help assure dependable service, a long vehicle life and will save money. Recommended or not: Change the oil every 3000 miles or less, service the transmission annually, have good tires and a full size spare on hand and take your car for service AS SOON as your brakes start to squeak or squeal - it means the brake pads have reached the end of their service life.
OUT OF GAS: Make it a religion: Look to refill your gas tank when it reaches 1/2. 1/3 is an urgent situation, 1/4 is an emergency. Never run out of gas.
CRASHES: Most crashes I see are from people being in a hurry, especially when it's wet. I see red light runners, green light jumpers (I got hit by one of them in 1997), horn blowers, fist wavers and people enraged by any few seconds of delay. Ever notice that many of those people have banged up cars? A banged up car is one to notice and avoid on the road.
The solution is to NOT be in a hurry. It's a 20 minute drive to my kid's school, under normal conditions. I set my pager to buzz me 45 minutes before the time I have to be there. I have time to finish up what I'm doing, hit the road and not let traffic conditions bother me. I usually get there 20 minutes early, so I have time to chat on the HAM radio (see the Communications section), read a paper, eat lunch if it's been a very busy day and generally do things I want or need to do - like read a book!
IN CASE OF A CRASH:
1) If someone is hurt or thinks they might be, summon emergency medical aid at once. (You DID read the emergency communication section, right?)
2) Prevent a bigger crash by setting highway flares, if appropriate. Be careful not to ignite spilled fuel nor nearby brush or trash.
3) Summon Police if needed or requested by someone. (In San Francisco, Police will not respond unless someone is hurt. In smaller communities, they'll usually hustle right out, if called. On California highways and freeways, the CHP will respond with lights and sirens if you are in a lane of traffic).
4) Exchange information with the other driver, Immediately. Get their driver's license in your hand as soon as possible, before they have a chance to think of driving away on you. Write down (this is why you have pen and paper): Complete name, Address, Date of Birth and driver's license number. Confirm verbally this information, for the address might have changed. If the person can't confirm the license info, call the cops! You may have someone with a fake driver's license!
From the vehicle: Get license, make, model and the dates of the registration tabs. Take photos of the damage of both vehicles, the license plates (front and rear) and the driver if you can. (You DID remember to put a camera in your emergency kit, right?) Then call your insurance agent.
5) Never be belligerent, accusative or nasty at an accident scene. Never accuse the other person of causing the crash, it may result in a fight.
Note this: This page is my personal opinion and experience. If you do something dumb and get hurt, get over it. There is a lot more information and safety ideas out there: use it. Always use common sense in anything you do, and use my suggestions as a guide - not an excuse!
Bill is completely unqualified to give advice to anyone about anything save for his life experience, common sense, and the fact that he has attended one too many fatal crashes as first responder.