We've all heard the stories of people who get stranded out in the middle of nowhere and go to some crazy lengths to survive. Since most people don't prepare for getting get stuck out in the elements, they typically don't bring a complete collection of survival gear with them.
If you find yourself marooned somewhere that doesn't get cell-phone service and you're unable to contact a lifeline, things start to get a little stressful. Luckily, most people have enough materials either on their person or nearby to send out a signal that just might save their life.
Send out smoke signals
This is probably the most universally known last-ditch-effort signal to send to rescue crews. Smoke can billow up and be seen for miles. Since you're using a fire source to create the smoke, always keep your surroundings in mind. Yes, you want to be rescued, but don't burn down the forest around you to do it. It can get real dangerous real quick.
Unfortunately, this type of signal is best when the material you use to spell out a message is nearly the opposite shade of the material on which it lays. After all, you don't want to distress signal to become camouflaged with the environment. That will kill any hope of being located.
Make any message short and big. Writing "SOS" is the most popular and is widely recognized.
Most of the population enjoys a relaxing day, chilling on a boat as it sails in a large body of water. But what if you're out in the ocean and that boat sinks? Should that terrible event come to life, most boats are outfitted with survival cases, containing extra water, some rations, and dye used to signal overhead planes.
Typically, the dye is a bright-green color, which contrasts greatly with dark seawater. The dye is dissolves bit by bit, creating a trail that leads to the boat or life preserver as it drifts.
Eye-level ground markers
Since you can't be everywhere at once to spot incoming rescue, creating eye-level ground markers is a great idea. Even in your absence, these are clear indicators that someone's around.
The eye-level tags can be clothes or any other material as long as it stands out against the surroundings.
Sounds travel fast and far, but yelling for long periods is rough on your throat. If you just so happen to have a whistle in your car or in your pocket, that's great. Since you probably don't, you can construct a temporary one by cutting out a wedge in a hollow piece of wood.
Aim right for the eyes.
Reflect light with a mirror
Extremely bright lights can be seen from several miles away. Now, you can't generate generate a light as bright as that fiery ball in the sky, but you sure can reflect that f*cker. Using a mirror or a makeup compact you can reflect and redirect the sun's rays to capture a rescuer's attention from afar.
It's literally that simple.