Don't lose your cool

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Rustystud
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Don't lose your cool

Post by Rustystud » Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:54 am

I've been in two serious live and death situations involving vehicles that I believe can help others. The first one was a total brake failure in my 1954 Chevy truck. I was driving down hill when my brake line burst. For those who don't know, prior to 1967 all vehicle had only one brake system. Federal law required a dual brake system for all cars during the 1967 safety laws. That was also the time seat belts became mandatory. So my trusty 1954 had only a single brake system, so when that line burst due to rust I was without any brakes just my park brake which back then would barely hold your vehicle in place let alone stop it when rolling. The first thing I did was PRAY ! The second thing was turn towards to side of the road and ram my truck against the side of the road barrier. That eventually did stop me. The thing was I didn't allow fear to take control of my mind. Yes I was scared ! If I had any piss in me at the time I would have probably pissed my pants ! The point was I still kept thinking how to stop my truck. You cannot allow fear to control you. I've known people who stop and look like deer in the headlights when they become afraid. You need to stop thinking like that. How do you do that you ask. Well you need to get in a daily mindset that you can handle anything that comes your way. I will not let fear control me. Think about scenarios that can happen to you and how you would deal with it. Walking down the street you can imagine a thief running up and trying to grab a bag your carrying. What would you do ? Your driving down the freeway, now imagine that car ahead of you swerves over into your lane. What would you do ?
When I was in the Marines they taught me to think of scenarios and then think of ways to combat them.
Latter I was involved in another vehicle situation where I was in real danger of dying. I was stupid and crossed a road that
was flooding. It was in Phoenix AZ during the monsoon season and the "awuafreea" (cannot spell the correct word) river was flowing down from the Camelback mountains. I thought I could safely cross but the river was still cresting. Halfway across, a wall of water hit my truck and spun me sideways. The water came inside the truck and was washing up over my windshield. Instead of panicking I kepted my foot on the throttle and turning my wheels towards the bank I surged my way up and back. Each time I surged forward I moved a little towards the bank. At one point I was in the gravel and thought I was a goner. Again I prayed a lot !
Eventually I made it to the bank and drove out of the river area. Those on the side where watching me. One guy came over and told me he thought I was dead man. Four people did die that night. One was a police officer trying to rescue a woman and child from their car stuck further up the river from me.
The first thing to take away from this story is don't be stupid ! Don't try and cross a road with a flowing river in it ! The second is don't stop thinking. Don't let fear overtake you. If you keep your cool most times you can think of a way to escape your problem.
Rustystud.

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emclean
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Re: Don't lose your cool

Post by emclean » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:58 am

I have experienced 2 break failures when driving.
first time I half kept my wits about me. when the peddle hit the floor, I was able to pull into a parking lot, that ran parallel to the road. I stamp on the parking break, that will do the trick, but no it did nothing. then I slapped the car into park to get the transmission to stop the car. well that obviously failed, so next my brain said engine breaking, turn the car off. turning off a car with it in park locks the steering wheel. by then I was in panic mode, as I was out of parking lot. I crossed a 4 lane road with out hitting anything. the curbs I jumped slowed the car, and the building stopped me completely. as I was hyperventilating with a death grip on the steering wheel a cop knocked on my window.
apparently I had just missed his car sitting at the stop light. it was his first day on patrol alone. (I am sure I am one of his stories) it turned out that the breaks failed cause the pads had worn through, and so had the piston on the break caliper.
that one I panicked, but I was a 16 year old kid, so it isn't surprising.

the second time I was in my pick up truck with a buddy coming up to a stop light on a highway, the light turns red, and my foot goes to the floor. I slap the truck in to a lower gear, and ignore my buddy asking what the hell I was doing. I get it into 2nd still on the about empty highway, then pull into a parking lot. drop it into first, and pull into a parking spot. I quick stop in reverse and then into park. I pull out a smoke still ignoring my buddy's more insistent questions, and light up. only then do I tell him that we just lost the breaks.
the front drivers side caliper broke into 2 pieces.

experience is the difference I was in my early 20's and a paratrooper for the second one.

I really hope that there isn't a third.

tony d tiger
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Re: Don't lose your cool

Post by tony d tiger » Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:14 pm

Rustystud wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:54 am
I've been in two serious live and death situations involving vehicles that I believe can help others. The first one was a total brake failure in my 1954 Chevy truck. ...
You need to stop thinking like that. How do you do that you ask. Well you need to get in a daily mindset that you can handle anything that comes your way. I will not let fear control me. Think about scenarios that can happen to you and how you would deal with it. Walking down the street you can imagine a thief running up and trying to grab a bag your carrying. What would you do ? Your driving down the freeway, now imagine that car ahead of you swerves over into your lane. What would you do ?
When I was in the Marines they taught me to think of scenarios and then think of ways to combat them.
Latter I was involved in another vehicle situation where I was in real danger of dying. I was stupid and crossed a road that
was flooding....
If you keep your cool most times you can think of a way to escape your problem.
Rustystud.
Good advice on situational awareness (SA) and pre-planning courses of action; thanks for sharing those experiences.
There is a similar post here, that shows a guy walking away from an altercation... and the other guy runs up from behind and hits him in the head with a brick. Different sub-forum/different scenario - but the same core problem: complacency, and/or a lack of SA.

Stay alert, stay alive, Marine! :words:
Tony D Tiger

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eugene
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Re: Don't lose your cool

Post by eugene » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:27 pm

I had similar just a couple summers ago, tiny VW car cuts me off as they always do because little cars can't be behind a truck so they have to get in front. I hit the brakes and the pedal went to the floor and the brake light came on and the chime started dinging. I was able to downshift the transmission to get into low gear to allow engine braking and that got it slow enough that the little bit left in the brakes was enough to stop it. One of the hard lines had rusted through right on top of the frame by the rear of the front wheel where you can just see it below the inner fender. I'd guess the tire must have flung salt and crud there for years.

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MacWa77ace
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Re: Don't lose your cool

Post by MacWa77ace » Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:05 pm

Rustystud wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:54 am

When I was in the Marines they taught me to think of scenarios and then think of ways to combat them.
I call this technique 'visualization'. I use it all the time. I learned it from Arnold not the marines though. In ZS its more like the term WWYD, there are a bunch of 'make you think' threads on 'what would you do'.



For those not familiar... think of it like the technique for playing chess. If he moves here, then i move there, then he will move there, and so on, all before you touch a piece on the board.

I figure out what i need and buy most of my prep supplies based on this technique.
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