Emergencies Along The Road

In case of a medical emergency, we are taught to dial 911, but who do you call when you are hundreds of miles away from home?
The first line of defense in case of emergencies along the road is to have an emergency plan for. Not that we really want one to happen, but we don’t want one to happen and get caught, as they say, “with our pants down.” WE certainly don’t want to panic.

The first order of business is to have someone to call like AAA, Good Sam’s Emergency Road Service, or OnStar(R). Keep these numbers, usually found on your membership card, in your wallet, above the sun visor, or in your purse. Important phone numbers to have with you include your nursing recruiter, you bank’s number, you car insurance agents’ number, and a network of friends along the way.

A network of friends is not only handy to have as a safety feature, but could also be a convenience feature. I have several friends around the country that I have worked with before that I keep track of, and have even had a few invites for supper and a place to stay. I wouldn’t recommend staying with someone whom you have only met online, but I would definitely stay with someone that I had worked with before. Of course, meeting other travel nurses along the way for supper is great fun. I have even met other travel nurses after work for breakfast!

If you have not invested in a good nationwide cell phone, then now is the time. For years I refused to get one because I had a C.B. and it was free. Although very handy at times, some people just aren’t comfortable with a C.B. When I was driving forty miles everyday to work, the C.B. is all that I had. The few times that I had problems, I would holler at the trucks to send a policeman or highway patrol.

Have a friend or relative lined up to call every time that you stop for gas. I always call my parents along the way so that if something does happen to me, they have some idea where to start a search. Of course, you would also want to let that person know what route that you are taking.

Although taking some cash is a good idea, taking too much is not a good idea. Keeping a national ATM card with access via a pin number is a must. I carry no more than a hundred dollars cash, and attempt to pay for everything of my debit card, which comes out of my bank account. This also gives me documentation for the tax man.

Before embarking on that next adventure, it is also a necessity to visit your local mechanic to get the oil changed and the fluids checked along with tire pressure. In the trunk of your vehicle, you should keep extra food, blankets, and water in the event that you have a roadside emergency.

Make sure that you have a good map. The best maps with nationwide truck stops can be found at the major “chain” truck stops, and some even provide a list of rest areas. Another great resource is the tourist information centers as you go into a state. They not only provide you with free maps, but they also have interesting facts about the territory that you are about to travel through! GPS is great, but sometimes there is nothing like a good old fashion paper map for any emergencies along the road.

When on a long trip and you haven’t ever been that direction, you should always start looking for a gas station when you reach one-half of a tank. By doing this, you don’t risk getting too low before finding a place to stop. This is especially essential if you are pulling a travel trailer, or traveling in a big motorhome. It is also important to remember that your gas mileage is a lot different when pulling a trailer.

When getting out of your vehicle to fill up with gas or go to use the restroom, always be aware of your surroundings. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, then stay in your vehicle and travel to the next rest area if possible. If you are a female traveling alone, it is not advisable to drive at night. Although, I do know some women who aren’t afraid of traveling alone because their safety is insured by Smith and Wesson.

That brings up the point that if you do have a concealed weapon, be sure that you know the concealed weapon laws in the states that you travel through. Other personal safety items to keep in the vehicle would consist of a large flashlight, which not only provides light, but can be used as a weapon. They also make a small light that goes on your key chain with an ultraviolet light that will blind someone, giving you time to get out of the dangerous situation.

Another great tip is to carry a device in your glove compartment that will allow you to break the glass or cut your seatbelt in the case of a traffic accident.

And last but not least for on the road, always make sure that your spare tire actually has air in it! You wont be too happy if you find this out along the Interstate.

Once you have arrived at your assignment, a phone book with the yellow pages is a must. Look in it to find the nearest urgent care center, the grocery stores, the laundromat, and if you have a pet, an emergency vet.

Once you are making good money as a travel nurse, get some of your bills paid off and save up at least enough money to float you for a few months.

In my case, it sure was nice when my Dad became sick last year, that I had enough saved up to take off for two months. In the event of a family emergency, quick airline tickets can be found at www.hotwire.com, priceline.com, and bereavementair.com.

By using these tips and others, you can travel from state to state with peace of mind. By preparing for an emergency, you will know that if something does come up, then you won’t be the first to hit the panic button because you will have everything under control.

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