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A Series of Unfortunate Road Trip Mishaps - What Would You Do?

A Series of Unfortunate Road Trip Mishaps - What Would You Do?

We all approach some scenarios on the road with the “it can’t happen to me” mindset. But the fact is, there are literally a hundred scenarios you could think of and even laugh about, but anything can happen, from the funny to the awkward, the scary to the outright weird, and it happens to the best of us. The RV is rolling down the lake, or you are swerving to avoid a family of ducks raccoon only to find yourself falling straight into the ditch. Sometimes you’ve just got to see the funny side of things – after all, disasters are often the thing we remember most about holidays.

We know you can’t prepare for every situation, but there is a way to prepare for some of the more common ones. So, what can you do when life throws a curveball when you are out on the road?

Mishap #1: Your car is sinking!

Any car accident is frightening, but being trapped inside a sinking car is absolutely terrifying. Whether you careened off the road and into a lake, or fallen into a ditch, or inadvertently drove into floodwaters, the first thing you need to do is stay calm. Hyperventilating and wasting energy and time on useless actions only add to the potential for death. Using the time you have for escaping to make a phone call could be the difference between getting out or becoming a statistic. Just remember that the first 30 to 120 seconds is the best window for escape.

Your escape plan starts

Unbuckle and brace. The impact of your car hitting the water could set off the airbag system, and you want to be in the brace position to minimize any serious injury.

Don’t waste time trying to kick the door open - even if you do manage to do so, the water rushing in will only make the car sink faster. The metal part of the headrest? Use it as a window-breaking tool.

Traveling with children and dogs? Get them out first, starting with dogs and older children. Forget about personal belongings and shed anything that may weigh you down and make it hard to swim - i.e., jeans and shoes. Most of this will happen quickly, so you may find yourself disoriented. If you can’t figure out which way is up after exiting the car, look for the bubbles and follow them to the surface.

Mishap #2: There's a bee in the car!

We heed the advice of those before us, “don’t pick up strangers on the road.” Sometimes we don’t get a say when a minuscule hitchhiker decides to go along for the ride. It starts with a buzzing in the background, then maybe a faint “tap, tap, tap.”

As you drive down the road, you feel something brush across your hair, and for a short moment, the buzzing sounded like it was inside your head. You glance around, and you see it – the time has come for you to say “hello” to your new insect friend.

How to Get Rid of a Hitchhiker That is Literally Bugging You

Your first instinct will be to swat at this bug – ignore this urge. Even if every fiber of your being says “you must kill it by swinging at it” or “use your flip flop to flatten it,” but alas, you are driving, and said actions could result in a nasty sting or a detour to a ditch.

Truth be told, the bug is not any happier about being in your car than you have it in there. The “tap, tap, tap” was it trying to vacate the premises. There are more natural ways of handling this situation.

  • If you can pull over to the side of the road safely, do so. You can then open the doors and try to coax this bug (and any other friends it may have) out of your car. Worst case scenario, squash it.
  • When you can’t pull over safely, we recommend rolling down your windows. This action gives the bug access to an exit while keeping your attention on the road.

Mishap #3: Your Windshield is Dirty, But Your Reservoir is Empty

Your windshield is an important part of your car. If you can’t see out of it, you can’t safely drive on the road. If you have been out on a humid summer night in the country, you know how nasty the bugs are and just how bad your windshield gets. It is almost impossible to see out of your windshield when it gets bad enough, creating a driving hazard. How do you fix the issue if your reservoir is empty and you can’t see very well out of your windshield?

Alternative Window Cleaning Solutions

Right about now, you wish that you had put that new jug of windshield washer fluid in your trunk like your significant other told you – but you obviously didn’t. Looking in your trunk, you don’t see a whole lot to help you get through this debacle. Then you realize you have a solution staring right at you.

  • The first thing you notice is your first aid kit. Most first aid kits have some type of alcohol pad or even a small bottle of alcohol included in them as an antiseptic. Using some water bottles you have in the car and the alcohol, you can mix a decent solution to put on your windshield to clean it. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also work in a pinch.

Mishap #4: Experiencing the Great Outdoors Without Racks

If you are a true outdoors person, you likely have a car or SUV with a roof rack and bike rack. These make taking adventures a lot easier, especially when you want to hit the lake or the trails. Maybe you are just getting into the outdoors scene and don’t have the proper equipment to handle transporting your kayak or bike yet, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.

While it may not be feasible to try and fit a kayak and a bicycle in or on a car all at once, you can easily move one at a time – without racks. How is that possible?

Take a Trip to Your Local Department or Auto Parts Store

You want to find tie-downs, bungee cords, or anything that will safely secure something to your car. A popular option is ratchet straps, but these will likely be a little more expensive and can be complicated if you have never used them before.

Once you have these, you can figure out the best place to transport your kayak or bicycle. We recommend putting your kayak on the roof and your bike in the trunk. In both circumstances, you will use these tie-downs, bungee cords, or ratchet straps to secure it to your car. Think about the cars and trucks you see transporting oversized items. They use these straps to hold down the hood of the trunk and secure the items – you can do this, too.

Mishap #5: You End Up Broken Down on the Side of the Road

You have heard people say that they will call AAA when they break down on the side of the road. It’s AAA-this and AAA-that. Not everyone has AAA to come to the rescue. Many insurance carriers offer some type of roadside assistance if you opt-in and pay the extra premium for it – but if you don’t, you are likely out of luck.

Roadside Assistance without the Membership

There are options out there for you that don’t require a membership. For example, HONK is an app that pairs you with local tow trucks and other individuals that offer services for those who break down. You can expect a faster response because of the network of mechanics on standby.

Sometimes the local police departments will stop to help a stranded motorist if they need help. They may offer to help by getting gas or locating someone who can provide the necessary assistance. The thing to remember is that you don’t always need a membership to get assistance roadside.

Mishap #6: You Hit an Animal on the Road

You drive down the highway minding your own business, and a deer jumps out in front of your car.

You drive down the road minding your own business, and a raccoon runs in front of your car.

You drive street the street minding your own business, and a cat runs across in front of your car.

What do these three animals have in common in these scenarios? They didn’t make it to the other side. Now what?

Proper Procedure When You Hit an Animal

There is a right way and a wrong way to handle roadkill situations. In all cases, especially with larger animals, you will need to check for damages to your car. In our example, the deer is likely to leave a mark on your vehicle. If damage occurs, you will need to call the police and have an accident report filled out – your insurance provider will likely require this before they pay a claim.

For a smaller wild animal like a raccoon or opossum, you can call the non-emergency number for the local police department or wildlife service and report the dead animal if there is no damage to your car. They will send someone to come and remove the furry corpse.

When it comes to a domestic animal, like a cat or a dog, you will want to try to find the owner. Chances are they don’t even know that the animal is loose. If there is a collar and a phone number, you should try to make contact. The same applies, though. If there is damage, a report needs to be filed. If there is no owner to be found, you need to call for proper disposal.

Are You Ready For Your Next Road Trip?

Your next drive doesn’t have to be an unprepared one. The circumstances we discussed aren’t so far out that they would never happen to you. Our advice? Check for bugs, put the washer fluid in the trunk, buy some tie-downs, download the app, and get the non-emergency number for your local wildlife or police department. Above all else, enjoy your drive, it’s summer, and you should be enjoying it!

Keep track of your summer fun and travels with one of the built-for-road trip dash cams. You can document your trip and keep the memories stored in the cloud. Review them when you want or transfer them to your own device. It also doesn’t hurt to have proof if an accident takes place. No matter how you use it, keep your ride safe by planning ahead for a series of unfortunate mishaps.

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