You never know what the world will throw at you, which is why it’s important to learn these 10 skills that could save your life.

As rare, or even unrealistic as these 10 situations may be.

As the old saying goes “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.

So, if you want to be able to be prepared in an emergency. 

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life

10. Escape a Sinking Car

Seatbelt Cutter Auto Window Breaker Emergency Rescue Escape Tool 325x301

The moment your car hits the water—or before if you have the presence of mind—lower your window. (The electric motors should work, even in salt water.)

If the car floats for a few seconds, slither out the window. If it sinks right away, water will rush in and fill the interior. Sounds bad, but it’s actually good: It equalizes water pressure, allowing you to open the door.

If the windows don’t open, keep a tool like a spring-loaded center punch ($8 Walmart) to break a door window. You can also use an Ice Pick, Phillips head screwdriver, even the heel of a woman’s stiletto would shatter the window.

Essentially anything hard that has a point would do the trick.

But as you know you’re not always in your own car, so in that case, DO NOT PANIC. Wait for the car to fill with water, once it does the pressure will be equalized and you’ll be able to open your car door and swim to safety.

9. Find Potable Water

Don’t exert yourself in the heat of the day. You may lose more water by sweating than you’ll gain by digging. Ravines and valleys are carved by running water, so head for the bottom.

In deserts, with the only occasional flow, look for cottonwoods, willows, and other light-green vegetation that grows in wet areas. When the sun or moon is low in the sky, scan the horizon for reflections that may reveal the location of small pools. (Don’t worry if the water looks scummy.

Waterborne illnesses won’t kick in for at least three days; dehydration can kill in a single day.) Collect morning dew by wiping grass with a cloth, then wringing out the water. 

8. Get a Car Unstuck

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Get a car unstuck
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Get a car unstuck

When you’re stuck, don’t gun the engine to get out–the tires will only dig in deeper.

Instead, straighten the steering wheel, then dig out as much sand, snow or mud from around the front or rear of the tires as you can, depending on the direction you want to go.

Place a floor mat snugly under a portion of each drive wheel (if your vehicle is 4wd, position a mat under each wheel).

Ease the vehicle onto the mats. If there’s a passenger, have him push the vehicle in the direction you want to go.

Repeat the procedure as needed, slowly progressing in the direction of travel until the vehicle is free.

TIP: To maximize traction, lower the tires’ air pressure by 10 to 15 psi or until the sidewall begins to bulge. This spreads out the footprint of the tire, helping the vehicle float over terrain. Drive slowly and air the tires back up as soon as possible.

7. Patch a Radiator Hose

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Get a car unstuck repair radiator with duct tape
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life repair car radiator with duct tape

If your driving in a deserted area and suddenly you see steam escaping from under your hood from a ruptured radiator hose, DON’T PANIC, here’s a relatively easy temporary fix using duct tape, which is a must-have for every car.

Stop the car immediately and wait for the engine to cool off. Open the hood and locate the source of the steam–i.e., the rupture. Clean and dry the area around the fissure; the tape won’t stick as well on a damp, dirty surface.

Wrap 2 to 3 in. of duct tape around the hose over the hole; press firmly.

Overwrap the patch (the hose will be under intense pressure) from 2 to 3 in. above the original piece to about 2 or 3 in. below, then work your way back.

Check your radiator level before cranking the engine. If it’s seriously low and you don’t have a can of coolant, use water or, in an emergency, diet soda, juice, or even pee.

Adding a liquid composed of almost entirely H2O in an EMERGENCY would help to travel a short distance.

The water circulates from the radiator, through the engine, and back into the radiator. The liquid transfers the engine heat to the radiator where the radiator fan cools the liquid.

If the “liquid” didn’t leak out, you could drive for a bit till the temp gauge read hot or the engine light (might) come on signaling you to stop. THEN STOR! Wait for 30 minutes, and drive for another couple miles.

Never drive the car without the radiator having some liquid in it, or the engine would overheat and seize up within minutes.

6. Build a Shelter

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life build a shelter
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life build a shelter

If you find yourself stuck in a wooded area, and it’s getting dark then it’s time to build yourself some shelter.

Find a small dead tree about 10 to 12 ft. long to serve as a ridgepole. Lean it against a boulder, stump, or the branch of a standing tree 3 to 4 ft. off the ground. Lean as many small branches as you can find against the ridgepole, then crisscross them with smaller sticks.

Finally, add a thick layer of leaves and grass, plus more sticks on top to keep the wind from blowing away your “roof.”

If time is short, or water and food are scarce, consider a more efficient, if less elegant, method: Make a big pile of leaves and grass and small debris and just dive in.

5. Putting Out a Fire

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life put out fire with fire extinguisher
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life putting out a fire

According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, 94 percent of the time a fire extinguisher is employed, a fire is extinguished within 2 minutes. 

Holding your fire extinguisher:

  1. stand back from the flames—about 8 ft. if possible.
  2. Pull the pin in the handle.
  3. Keeping the extinguisher upright, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire (hitting the flames directly will not put the fire out).
  4. Squeeze the lever to discharge pressurized dry chemical and sweep from side to side until the fire is out.

One of the worst things you can do if you have a grease fire starts is to move the skillet to the sink and turn on the water.

You’ll splash flaming grease everywhere and run a high risk of burning yourself—not to mention spreading the fire.

Instead, place a lid on the skillet, or pour salt over the fire to smother it.

4. Safely stopping Your Car After a Blowout

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Tire Blowout
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Tire Blowout

If you’re driving along and one of your car tires suddenly blows out…DON’T JAM ON THE BRAKES!

Instead of hitting the brakes, maintain your speed. A sudden change in speed could compromise what little structural integrity the tire may still have.

Plus, it would also probably throw the car into an uncontrollable spin, possibly cause the car to roll over.

God forbid this happens, keep the car as straight as possible until you slow down enough until you feel the car is fully under your control.

While the car is still moving forward (20-30 mph), then slowly start pulling your car over to the side of the road.

3. Escape a Rip Current

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life rip current
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life rip current

If your swimming in the ocean and you suddenly find yourself not getting any closer to shore, you’re probably caught in a rip current.

First, stay calm—and don’t keep swimming to the beach, it will only wear you out and you’ll most likely drown due to exhaustion.

Instead, relax, and swim parallel to the shoreline until you’re out of the rip current.

YES, you’ll feel it.  A rip current can move 5 mph, and you’ll feel the pressure disappear when you escape it. Then simply head in toward shore.

2. Change a Car Tire

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Change a Car Tire
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life Change a Car Tire

Every new driver should do practice changing a tire at least once before they ever drive on the road alone.

The secret is to break the nuts loose with the wrench before you jack up the car. (Otherwise, the wheel spins in the air.) Same deal in reverse:

After mounting the spare, tighten the nuts with your fingers and a nip from the wrench, then lower the car for the final tightening. When tightening the lug nuts just remember to tighten one nut, and then the opposite one, until all the nuts are tightened.

1. The Heimlich Maneuver 

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver On Yourself

If there is no one around and you start choking there are two methods to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself:

Using Your Fist

    1. To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on yourself, place a fist slightly above your navel.
    2. Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface.
    3. Shove your fist inward and upward.

If your hands aren’t enough to dislodge the object.

Look for a stable object that is about waist high that you can bend over. A chair, a table, a railing, or a countertop will work well for this.

With your hands still clasped in front of you, bend over the solid object. Brace your fists between the chair and your abdomen and drive your body against the object.

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver On Yourself
10 Skills That Could Save Your Life – Performing the Heimlich Maneuver On Yourself

This will greatly increase the force you apply to your diaphragm, which may help dislodge the object more easily.

Repeat the maneuver if it doesn’t work right away. 

You may not be able to dislodge the object during the first try. If not, quickly repeat pushing yourself onto the stable object until the object is removed. You should return to normal breathing once it is removed. 

  • Although choking is very scary, it is better if you stay calm. Panicking will only increase your heart rate and need for air, which will make it worse.
  • Once you have the object dislodged, sit down and catch your breath.
  • If you find that you are uncomfortable or have pain in your ribs, abdomen, or throat, you may need to call 911 or see your doctor.

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver On Another Person

universal sign for choking
The universal sign for choking

If you ever see someone giving the universal sign for choking.

Remain calm, and check to see the choking person is able to cough.

If they can’t, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get the person to stand up.
  2. Position yourself behind the person.
  3. Lean the person forward and give five blows to their back with the heel of your hand.
  4. Place your arms around their waist.
  5. Make a fist and place it just above the navel, thumb side in.
  6. Grab the fist with your other hand and push it inward and upward at the same time. Perform five of these abdominal thrusts.
  7. Repeat until the object is expelled and the person can breathe or cough on their own.

Alternatively, if the person can’t stand up, straddle their waist, facing their head. Push your fist inward and upward in the same manner as you would if they were standing.

10 Skills That Could Save Your Life – Performing the Heimlich Maneuver On Someone else

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