Preparedness Corner
March 2002
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

Sorry, no fire stuff this month.  However, I do have a couple of items to pass along.  Anybody who has recently renewed his or her driver’s license might have noticed the change in the recommended hand placement on the steering wheel.  The new thinking is 3 and 9 o’clock on the wheel.  Why the change from the old 10 and 2 and who cares? I asked someone and this is what I was told.  One of the reasons and the best one I can come up with are air bags.  If you hit or are hit in the front of your car causing a rapid deceleration of forward movement, or while stationary and struck from the front, a sensor detects this and BAM, out comes the big pillow at over 200 miles per hour to gently slow your head and upper torso from becoming part of the car.  Then the bag deflates (almost as instantly as it inflated) and voila, hopefully no injuries.  Now if one of your hands was near the twelve o’clock position, which is one of my favorites due to comfort, imagine the same scenario.  Impact, sensor detection, air bag starting to deploy pushing your hand and arm in front of it with incredible speed, and BAM, this time you win the boxing match.  You have just knocked yourself out with your own hand.  As stupid as it sounds, I have seen it happen and the bloody face isn’t very pretty.  I think of this often as I drive trusting that I am at 3 and 9 just before impact.

One more.  A friend from work recently returned from his property in Oregon.  While there, he did some earthwork with his tractor.  Then he drove the tractor to a friend's to hose off the mud from the tires that was slowing progress.  When he returned and went back to work he instantly became stuck.  Down into the mud, up to the axles.  Any ideas?  Well when he left the site he took the tractor out of 4 wheel drive and unlocked the anti slip rear end.  Then he forgot to engage it before going back to work.  After two hours of digging and preparing, out came the tractor under its own power.  Remember this story while driving around this spring.  When you return from town and cross the bridge put your vehicle in the right mode to get back to your property.

See you all soon,

Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background