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BY SANDY WEINGART
 

There you are, driving along, listening to the radio and thinking your own thoughts, while watching the world go by. Life is good! When all of a sudden a loud thunk, bang, hiss or crash catches your attention and Oh, No! your car has suddenly and inexplicably stopped working. You quickly pull over to the side of the road, in total shock, and there you are. STUCK!

It's every woman's nightmare, and it happens all too often. Let's be frank here, do you know what to do?

First we called the highway patrol to ask them for advice, "When stranded on the shoulder of a road, whether it be a busy interstate or a rural country road, no attempt to better your situation should be made outside of your car, unless traveling in a group. Male, female, day or night, rural or city, the safest place to be when stranded, is in your car with the doors locked and the windows rolled up," says Tennessee State Highway Patrol officer, Sergeant Light.


Surprisingly, Light suggested against the use of emergency flares simply because you have to exit your car to set them up. Instead, he recommends, if the battery of the car still works, to put the hazard lights on. Then, crack the window nearest to the highway or road lane, stick a sock or a scarf, or something that is capable of billowing in the wind, half inside the car and half outside; then roll the window up tightly on the middle of this material. If you happen to have reflective material or a brightly colored item, their use for this is advised. This symbolizes to the highway patrol that you need help.
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"There are a lot of crazies out there," says Light, "Some people react differently when they see someone walking alone down the road, especially a highway, and especially a woman. To some this spells vulnerability. You are more at risk outside your car."

So there you are, in your car. What now? Well, being that this is the Age of Technology, there is help at the tip of your fingers 24 hours per day. Mobile phone companies like Sprint PCS, Bell South mobility, and GTE Wireless, all offer a specific cheap rate for those who want to be rare users or emergency only users. All three of these services allow free calls to official emergency numbers including 911, Fire and Police. If you foresee yourself as being an emergency mobile phone user, here are the deals*:

Sprint PCS will allot 30 emergency minutes per month for $16.99 per month, for all local calls. If the phone will only be used in emergency situations, you might consider purchasing their previously owned phone for $50.00, as opposed to their brand new one, $99.00.


GTE Wireless seems to have an even better offer. To be connected through this service, the cost is $25.00/month, and that comes with 100 free minutes of local calls per month. Now you just need a phone to go with this number. With GTE, mobile phones can be purchased anywhere, not just through them. A mobile phone can run as cheaply as $20.00, up to $150.00 or more.

Bell South offers their service with a title, "Our New Emergency or Special Needs Digital Phone." Under a two year contract, the user obtains a phone for only $30.00, plus the $10.00 per month for a number. However, there are no free minutes. In addition to the initial $40.00, all local calls are 39 cents per minute. Depending upon how many of your personal emergency contacts needed to be called, how much time you spent on the phone with them, and how accident prone you are, this plan could get costly, and fast!
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Don't forget AAA (Triple A), a girl's best friend in an emergency. For a yearly membership fee of only $75.00, they will send a truck from the nearest service station to where you are broken down. Although it sometimes takes them awhile to get there, they will jump your car, fix a flat, unlock your car, or if more extensive repairs are necessary, tow it and you to the nearest service station where you can make arrangements for repairs in safety. All they ask for is your membership card and your signature.

One of the most terrifying and dangerous things that can happen in an emergency, is to get trapped in your car. To keep yourself safe in this situation, be certain to have these two items with you in the car and not in the trunk, and within easy reach at all times. The first is a cutting implement (scissor, matte knife, knife) sharp enough to cut your seatbelt if you are trapped in it, so you can escape. The second is a hammer, so you can smash the windows to get out. This item can save your life!

In addition, in your car or trunk, you should carry jumper cables, a large flashlight and extra batteries, a plastic jug of water (for you and possibly your overheated car), A warm blanket to come to the rescue if the car's heater cannot, a cigarette lighter, some dried fruits or nuts to stave off starvation while waiting for help to arrive.

Also, a basic first-aid kit should be in your car. It will provide you with the scissors, band-aids, towels, hand wipes, (how about toilet paper?), that you may be dependent upon in case of an accident. Finally, you might want to carry some kitty litter or rock salt in case your car gets stuck on the ice, and a shovel. In case you think you're up to changing your own tire, you will need a spare tire, a screwdriver, a wheel chock to loosen nuts, and a four-way tire wrench.

Whenever you're alone in your car, drive safely, and THINK SAFETY!

*rates may vary from area to area. Also, other wireless service providers may offer better deals. Check in your area to make certain you are making the best possible emergency arrangements.
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www.Dishmag.com / Issue 198 - December 2017
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