14 Survival Tips That Can One Day Save Your Life
The Boy Scout motto tells us to always be prepared. Indeed, the number of natural and geophysical disasters taking place each year is increasing, the forests are full of poisonous plants, insects, and animals, and an alarming number of people go missing in the wild every year.
We at Bright Side collected some tips that might be helpful one day, even if you are lucky enough to live in an area with no natural disasters or poisonous creatures. Thanks to them, you will be able to make split-second decisions in an emergency situation, using what you’ve got on hand.
1. Stopping a car when the brakes fail
If you have regular brakes and they fail, you will have to start pumping the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake fluid pressure. If this does not help, you are advised to use the parking brake. If it does not work either, scrape your car against a guardrail to slow it down. The last option will ruin your car and should be used as a last resort.
2. Starting a fire with almost no resources
One proven way to generate flames is to use batteries and 2 small pieces of foil (even a gum wrapper will work). You have to place each piece of foil on the ends of the battery, and the foil will heat up and burn. When you manage to get a flame, you can use corn chips such as Doritos to make a quick fire – they are surprisingly very flammable! Hand sanitizers can also help to start a fire as they contain flammable alcohol.
3. Emergency number
A useful thing to know is that most cell phones can dial a local emergency number, even when there is no SIM card. Even if you are in an area with no service at all, do not switch your phone off. An attempt to dial an emergency number could transmit an electronic lifeline that lets rescuers know you’re alive. This concept is called a "digital handshake."
4. DIY water purifier
Even if there is water all around you in the forest, it is never advisable to drink from a puddle or a lake. If it is unavoidable, you can create a water purifier using an empty bottle, coarse gravel, coarse sand, charcoal, and fine sand (on top). As the water flows through these layers, it will become filtered.
It is not advisable to eat snow as a way to prevent dehydration. It does not provide you with much water, and by eating it you reduce your body heat.
5. Sending an emergency signal
A good fire signal is one with a lot of smoke, which can be produced using fresh pine and spruce leaves, wet leaves from other trees, and even rubber materials. Another way to send a signal is to use any reflective materials you have: rear-view mirrors, CDs, polished metal, and even jewelry.
6. Fishing with a can top
If you are lost in the wilds, fishing is one of the easiest ways to gather food. To make a fishing hook, you can use the little tag on the top of your beer or soda can. It is the perfect shape for making a hook. You will have to cut one segment out of it and sharpen it. If possible, you can add some bread to it as bait.
7. Avoiding venomous insects
You probably don't need to worry too much about a regular spider bite unless you have an allergy. But a poisonous spider is a different story. Allergic reactions from venomous spiders are more severe. The venom of a black widow spider, for example, causes immediate pain at the bite site and then spreads to other areas of the body such as the chest and the abdomen.
Venomous spiders are easy to identify by their pattern. For instance, a black body with red "hourglass" coloration on the underside of its abdomen signifies a black widow.
8. Escaping from a riptide
If you find yourself stuck in a riptide, do not panic. Do not try to fight it and swim against it either as this will cause exhaustion. Swim parallel to the shore, and go with the flow. The rip current will dissipate at some point, and it will not pull you under.
9. Keeping warm with campfire rocks
Do not forget to put stones around your campfire. The stones will control the fire, and, after the fire dies out, they can be used to keep you warm. Warm stones can also be used to purify water. If you place the rocks inside cans with water, the water will boil.
10. Alternative uses of cat litter
If you have kitty litter in your car, you will never have the problem of getting your car out of mud or snow. When your car gets stuck, you can use the litter for extra traction by placing it under the tires.
11. Collecting water from trees
Water transpired by trees is clean and does not require filtering. To obtain it, tie a plastic bag over a branch with many leaves so that all the leaves are completely covered. Collect the water in the bag after sunset.
12. Never suck venom out of a snake bite
Despite what we have seen on TV, sucking out venom from a bite might be a bad idea. It can be dangerous as it can help the venom to spread and damage the skin around the bite.
13. HELP position in cold waters
If you are ever stuck in cold water in a life jacket, you have to make the Heat Escape Lessening Posture. For this, cross your arms, and hold them tight against your chest or on your sides. Put your legs up, pressing your thighs together. You have to remain still in this posture to not lose body heat.
14. Opening any lock
Although this tip is not going to literally save your life, it will definitely make it easier. If you locked yourself out, you can try to pick the lock using a flathead screwdriver, butter knife, or anything flat enough or sturdy enough to fit into the lock and not break while turning. A bobby pin will also work for this purpose. Some online videos show how to pick a padlock using a knife or a razor.
We sincerely hope that you will never have to use any of those tricks. But it is better to be prepared than sorry. Share in the comments which of the tips you found the most helpful and which tips are still missing from this list.