Beam me up, Scotty
EAGLE COUNTY – It goes without saying that one of the best tools for safety is a cell phone. However, cell phones are the most valuable when they work. If you have a cell phone, have a car charger for your phone. Any time you are driving a long distance, you should have your phone on the charger so if you need the phone, the charge is full. If you break down, always make at least two calls: one for roadside assistance, and one to a friend to let them know where you are and when to expect another call from you. Let’s say you are waiting for a tow truck or a friend, and someone stops to offer you help. NEVER get out of the car to talk to them. While covering this subject at a seminar, one of the participants said they would feel rude if someone stopped to help them and they did not get out of their car or at least roll the window down to talk to them. Polite is not always a good thing. If a person is really there to help you, they will not feel insulted if you are helping yourself. Always stay in your car and, if you feel like talking to them, roll your window down no more than a couple of inches. Remember, the perception of reality is more important than reality itself. If you are waiting on the side of the road and someone stops to help you, what do you want them to know? 1. Even though your car has stopped running, you are in control of the situation.2. Help is on the way. (Somebody knows; somebody cares.)3. Somebody knows about the person who stopped. This is a big one. For your safety, it is important that you create the perception that information about the person who has stopped is in the hands of a third party. You do this by talking into your phone as the person walks up. With your window down a couple of inches, you want to be overheard saying something like “That is right, a man in a blue, late model Ford pickup just stopped and I think he is offering to help.” With the phone in your hand, you politely refuse his help. Or if you feel the situation warrants getting a ride with this person (at best a very shaky proposition), you say into the phone, “I will be getting a ride to a service station with -what did you say your name is? – and the license plate of the truck is —–.”You can run this scenario, whether your cell phone works or not. What matters is that the person you are dealing with thinks he has been ID’d. Let’s say you do not have a cell phone, and you need to get help from a stranger.Never let them take a look under your hood. Well over 90 percent of men do not have a clue what they are looking at, especially in late model cars, not to mention that the fastest way to make sure your car will not start again is to let a stranger start fooling around with your engine. Make up some 3 x 5 cards with a couple of quarters taped to them and the phone numbers you want called written on the cards. As the person walks up to your car, roll the window down a few inches and say something like “Thank you for stopping. It would be a great help if you would call these numbers for me.” What is important here is that you have taken control of the situation. Rather than finding yourself in the position of having to say yes or no to a stranger, you reverse the dynamic. You thank the person for their concern and state the manner in which they can help you. Now it is up to them to say yes or no. If they are there to help, they will say yes. If they say no, do you really want to let someone who has just said they are not there to respect your wishes looking under the hood of your car or giving you a ride? There is a lot more to talk about, but it always comes down to someone has to be in control of a situation. Who do you vote for?Mathew Bayley, owner of Vail Academy of Martial Arts, is accepting enrollment for the fall session in his martial arts and safety programs. Two locations: Vail and Avon. Classes: Tuesday through Saturday. Call 949-8121.