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Prepare for your travels

As a country, we were all galvanized recently in our hope that James Kim, the man who left his family in the Oregon wilderness while he sought help, would be found alive. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

If anything, this story should teach us to respect Mother Nature and be prepared for her ability to change our environment, sometimes without much notice.

The Kim family attempted to reach their destination by taking a back road through what eventually proved to be some very rugged terrain. After their car bogged down, they spent several days stranded in the wilderness as a blizzard nearly covered them in snow.

While those of us in Hampton Roads will rarely ever encounter that type of precipitation, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, and maybe even overly prepared for what Mother Nature can throw at us.

Ask yourself this. If I were broken down or stranded in the woods, what do I currently have in my car that may save my life?

You should always have a first-aid kit, flares, a repair kit, a container for carrying water in case you need to fill your radiator, a spare tire and a pump (either hand or electric).

At this time of year, especially if your travel plans include a trip to the mountains, throw in a blanket and extra clothing for everybody in the car, matches for starting a fire, food and water.

Before you leave, let somebody know where you are going and stick to your route. If it changes, tell somebody what you are doing.

Driving in winter weather is treacherous enough, but in the mountains, the storms can come quickly and dump several inches of snow or ice on the ground, and you, in a very short amount of time.

A little preparation now could save your life.