It started out as a simple drive home for Ruby Stein…
The 85-year-old Colorado woman was driving in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains when she took a wrong turn down a muddy road and became stuck. Ruby was completely stranded in her Nissan Sentra and a fierce winter storm was fast approaching.
No Help for Miles
At first, the octogenarian tried to signal for help: “I blowed my horn and blowed my horn and flashed my lights until the battery ran down.”
With a dead car battery and no cell service, Ruby began preparing to survive in her car. She had extra clothes in her vehicle that she put together using safety pins to make a blanket. She also stuffed some of the clothes in the door and window crevices as insulation.
She also had a little bit of food — part of a sweet roll and a butterscotch-flavored Rice Krispies Treat. Because Ruby didn’t know how long it would be before help arrived, she only allowed herself two bites of food each day.
To stay hydrated, Ruby gathered snow from outside and melted it for drinking water. Reflecting on her ordeal, Ruby said, “I knew I either had to or it was over with.”
On the fifth day of being stranded — after eating her last bit of rations — two hikers came upon Ruby’s vehicle. They gave her food and water and helped her safely out of the area. After five days alone in her car, Ruby was hungry, but otherwise unharmed.
Home Sweet Home on Wheels
Even though Ruby wasn’t exactly prepared for this situation, she did a good job improvising a blanket and rationing her food to survive. This is one of the many reasons you definitely want to keep a bug-out bag or 72-hour kit in your car. Or something like the R.E.S.C.U.E. Pack, which is what I have in each of my family’s vehicles.
The fact is we depend on our cars to get us places. But have you ever thought about how you would live in your car if you had no other option?
Whether you are stranded like Ruby or you have to evacuate because of a natural disaster, you need to have a plan for living in your car during a survival situation that may last longer than just a day trip.
That being said, here are a few tips to help you live in your car a little more comfortably if you have no other choice.
• Privacy — If you are stranded somewhere, you want to draw as much attention to yourself and your vehicle as possible to help rescuers find you. However, if you are living in your car because of a natural disaster or social unrest, you want to do the complete opposite. In other words, you don’t want people to know you are living in your car and you definitely don’t want to draw attention to your vehicle. For this reason (if it doesn’t look too weird), you may want to consider covering the car windows. You could use blankets, a tarp or something similar. However, blankets could serve a few other purposes (insulation) so that would be my first choice.
• Sleeping — When you are sleeping in your car, you are vulnerable to threats from the outside. Anyone could easily sneak up and break your car window before you even know what’s going on. So — whether you are stranded or living in your car during some type of dangerous situation — I recommend taking turns sleeping (provided you are not alone) so that someone is awake to protect the vehicle. Make sure the person standing guard has a gun or some type of weapon close by. Personally, I would sleep with my gun on my hip since I carry a gun everyday anyways.
• Parking — If you are living in your car you need to be careful where you decide to park. Ideally, you want to park somewhere that has a business open 24 hours a day. Never park at churches, parks or other places where your vehicle would stand out during off hours. Parking at these locations will also draw attention from the police. Here’s another piece of advice: Make sure to back into the parking spot so you can make a quick getaway if necessary.
• Sustenance — Regardless of whether you are stranded or bugging out to survive, being able to cook a little in your car can make a big difference. For as little as $15, you can buy a small 12V heating pot that plugs into the cigarette lighter so you can heat water, noodles or whatever type of liquid you want. Remember to keep a quality water filter in your car in case you are stranded or staying near a water source. I rely on the portable SurvFilter when I need to filter water on the go.
There’s no question that living in your car should be your last resort. But it’s something you should prepare for by simply storing some survival gear in your vehicle.
To make things easier on you, I spent over six months creating the perfect emergency car kit. I call it the R.E.S.C.U.E. Pack. Click here to see what’s inside and find out how you can claim one of the limited packs I have left.