Society has come a long way in terms of being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Instead of having to track down a payphone or knock on a stranger's door to use the phone, travelers can easily use smartphones and mobile devices to get in contact with someone--in theory. Unfortunately, drained batteries and areas with weak or no cellular service can make your mobile devices nearly useless. To stay safe and make the best use of technology in an emergency, consider a few trip planning and road emergency tips.
Battling The Battery Drain
Before smartphones, a nearly perfect balance of communications and power was in place as cell phones offered days of power on a single charge in some cases. Smartphones are actually computers with a small phone function, and their processes can drain batteries much faster.
In an emergency, it's not a big deal to make a call when the car breaks down, but what happens if the car's battery is dead? Making a call to friends, family and a towing service can happen, but you shouldn't assume that the first call will be the end of your troubles. The people coming to find you may not be able to find your location on the first try, or you may have another emergency.
If your phone's battery is depleted and your car can't charge it, what can you do? Instead of putting yourself in that position, make sure to have a few backup batteries. This plan isn't as easy as buying a few spares; if you don't have a proper container for the batteries, you may end up with a few swollen, ruined batteries. Especially in the hotter months, excessive heat or direct sunlight exposure can cause your batteries to fail with a small explosion that fizzes acid.
Make sure to have a case for the batteries that you can fit under the seat or somewhere accessible. Don't store the battery in the trunk in case of an emergency that requires quick reaction and speedy communications. Although you can't rely on the car charger, consider having a battery charger that can be connected to the car's charger port in case you end up using multiple batteries.
Planning Around Cell Dead Zones
Outages in cell communication areas can't be easily planned. Unexpected outages can affect different parts of your trip and can be restored at any time, but there are a few constant outage areas that you can plan around.
Certain areas are so far out in parts of the country with no population, such as long stretches of interstate roads or wilderness areas. For cross-country trips, you may pass through forests, farmlands and deserts with no cell service at all, and there's always a chance that you may break down in those areas.
Make sure to mark the areas of your trip that have no service by tracing your trip in a cell service map, and try to avoid extended driving in those areas. Marking the area can help you figure out how big an outage area is and how far you may need to walk in order to get cell service again. Although it's a good idea to stay put during a breakdown, going in a straight line to get cell service can make towing and emergency pickup service easier.
As you develop your emergency communications plan, make sure to contact a towing service to organize emergency towing services with a great towing team and their skilled colleagues at repair shops across the country.