Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Bugging out is a popular topic that is discussed a lot within the survival community. Often what is talked about is gear, the number of supplies needed to make the trip, and choosing a secondary location.
One aspect to bugging out that is often neglected but important is the time that it takes to bug out. I think we all like to think that we are better at some things or that we can do them quicker than we really can. However, we tend to get kicked in the butt with a reality check when those tasks must be carried out for real.
Imagine these two scenarios. You walk into your kitchen and there is a fire. Most people have a fire extinguisher in their home or even in their kitchen to take care of such things. This allows a person to quickly put the fire out before incurring too much damage.
Now, if a person didn’t have a fire extinguisher, they would have to call the fire department and wait until they arrived. A lot can happen in the time it takes for emergency services to show up and for various reasons, it may take them longer than you think. This gives the fire time to spread which will cause further damage and increase safety issues to those living inside.
Damage control and getting to a safe zone are all about proper, realistic preparation. Beating the traffic during a bug-out situation is no different, and proper preparation will get you through the experience much quicker.
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Ways To Beat The Traffic
Heed Warning Signs
If you have read any number of articles about bugging out, then you have probably heard that the decision to bug out can be a difficult one to make. Most people do not want to go through the process of bugging out if it later turns out doing so was unnecessary. I can understand this feeling, but the safety of my loved ones and me is more important than feeling a bit foolish.
Some events can happen suddenly, but many of them unfold somewhat slowly and have warning signs that we need to pay attention to. If you are paying attention to these warning signs and are feeling uneasy about the situation, leaving the area early will help you to stay ahead of the crowd of people that wait until the last minute.
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This is another area that I think many people are behind in. Sure, we may have a bug-out bag or a small kit in the vehicle, but is that everything you and your group will need for the trip? Do you have important documents, medicines, cash, items for pets, extra fuel, and specialized or personal items for certain members in your group ready to go at a moment’s notice?
Everything that you think you will need to bug out should be pre-packed and stored in one spot. This way when it is time to go, supplies can be loaded within minutes, and you won’t be wasting time wandering around your home searching for individual items.
Keep Your Vehicle Prepared
We sometimes get so involved in what our group needs to survive that it is easy to forget about what our vehicle needs. Your vehicle is what is going to get you out of the danger zone quickly and easily and it is doing all the work of carrying your supplies. It is important to keep a few things in mind when making bug-out preparations.
- Make sure vehicle maintenance is up to date.
- Always have an emergency kit as well as a vehicle tool kit in the vehicle.
- Know how to take care of simple vehicle problems such as adding fluids, replacing wiper blades, and changing a flat tire.
- Regularly check your spare tire to ensure it is in working condition and that you have the tools to change a flat.
- Always keep the fuel tank as full as possible.
I think the two items on the above list that are neglected the most are vehicle maintenance and keeping the fuel tank full.
During a bug-out situation, gas stations may be overcrowded, or not even operational and minor vehicle issues can turn sour quickly. You don’t want to find yourself stuck on the side of the road with an empty tank of gas or a maintenance problem, both of which are easily avoidable.
Plan Multiple Escape Routes
This is yet again another area where poor planning takes place. Usually, one route is planned for, and people think they have a proper plan in place.
Depending on the event that is unfolding, there could be a lot of reasons that will prevent you from traveling along the one exit route you have planned. Traffic jams, collapsed bridges, rioting, flooding, fires, etc.
Many of us take the same path every day to work, the grocery store, home, and other errands. We don’t even have to think about these routes as we travel them because it becomes a type of muscle memory. But what happens when we are on this same old path and something like a construction zone or an accident impedes our travel?
We usually have to take a few minutes and try to figure out a different path to our destination. Even in a town that you have lived in for years, this process can throw you for a loop, and the new route can even make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
There is not a magic number of routes that you should have planned out, but having as many escape routes as possible will give you that many different options of getting to safety.
Practice Bug Out Routes
I think it is a safe bet to assume that bug-out routes are mostly practiced in the mind and on paper and not so much in the real world. This is a huge mistake because no matter how good something looks on paper, it rarely translates so perfectly in reality.
This is especially true in a bug-out situation. If you never practice your escape route, then you will not have an accurate measure of how long it takes to travel and when the SHTF it will definitely take longer than normal.
Also, there may be characteristics of a route that could become an issue that you don’t want to find out about during an emergency.
For example, maybe one of the routes you have chosen is susceptible to flooding or rockslides and it just so happens that it recently rained a lot before bugging out. It would be unfortunate to get underway only to find out that your escape route has become impassable.
To put yourself in the best position possible, plan as many bug-out routes as you can, but don’t stop there. Get into your vehicle and run through all the routes you have planned. While you are running through them, take note of any and all characteristics that could become a hazard or obstacle.
Examples include bridges, chokepoints, flood zones, rock slides, mudslides, avalanches, wildfires, high frequency of construction zones, etc.
Ditch Your Main Vehicle
Nobody wants to think about the idea of ditching their main vehicle when bugging out, but having a plan in place for this possible outcome is essential and will help you to stay ahead of or bypass traffic jams.
There are many reasons that a vehicle may have to be ditched and some examples include, traffic jams, running out of fuel, vehicle breakdown, imminent threats, and any other reason that would make staying in your vehicle more dangerous than leaving. There are a few things to consider when making a plan for ditching a vehicle.
First, you are going to need a way to carry essential supplies. For most people, this is going to be in the form of a bug-out bag for every member of the group. Additional supplies can also be carried in wheeled carts.
Secondly, when you bug out make sure that everyone in the group is wearing or has quick access to weather-appropriate clothing, footwear, and gear. This is easy to forget about when riding along in a climate-controlled vehicle. However, once you leave that vehicle this will become very important.
Lastly, put some thought into alternative modes of transportation that can be hauled by your main vehicle but that can be used in the event the main vehicle needs to be left behind. The cheapest and most obvious choice is bike racks for carrying bicycles. Bicycles are a highly underrated bug-out vehicle that will allow you to keep going when masses of other vehicles are left behind.
For a bug-out plan to work as well as you want it to, a lot of thought, time, and action needs to be put into it. Hopefully, you will never need a bug-out plan, but if you take the proper steps of preparing for it beforehand, then you will stay ahead of the curve and most of the traffic.
Thanks for reading and stay prepared so that you can move from a dangerous zone to a safe zone easier and quicker. Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on this topic.
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