Letter Re: Population Density, Traffic and Getting Out of Dodge

Mr. Rawles:
During the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I drove from my house, to my brother’s a mere 270 miles, a mere 4 to 4-1/2hrs drive. With accidents and construction, it took almost 8 hours. And it was in both directions, North and Southbound. I was perplexed at the mass confusion, weaving in and out, driving over medians to get to the access/frontage road to get ahead of others, only to find out that that road went off in another direction or dead ended.
Coming home on Sunday I saw 15 accidents in a 20 mile stretch, one accident involving six cars in a tailgating fender bender. Most others were 1-2 cars, or single run off the road flat tire accidents.
This was under a ‘holiday’ weekend Wednesday and Sunday. What is going to happen when these folks are ‘bugging out’ like they hear on television? And if there is a real emergency? Where are they going to go if everyone along an Interstate Highway is bugging out at the same time? All points of the compass are going to be a parking lot within 10 miles of any major population center. Then What? Everybody gets out and walks? They wouldn’t make it 100 yards before collapsing.
I don’t think I can last long enough to get a piece of property and make preps, outside from the city. So I am trying to prep on site, until after the wave flows over us. I fear the European crisis and the Middle East war expanding. It is coming like a freight train and I can’t get out of the way.
Now I am talking economic collapse that disrupts government involvement, transportation and food distribution/jobs/civil war/ or some other catastrophe other than natural, like Superstorm Sandy, where the infrastructure is destroyed.
Am I being ‘prudent’ in assessing the situation? I am stocking up on food and weapons and working on my concealed handgun license and range time. I won’t give you my list of weapons as I value OPSEC, but I have enough in each category home defense, short battle rifle, long range rifle and a mixed bag of other rifles, including an assortment of pistols. It’s not an ‘arsenal’ to outfit an army, but it’s enough for me for now.
If we lay low, until most of the shock wears off, and see what happens, we’ll be okay for the most part.  I need to get a genset for power and other essentials, but I am headed that way.  Thanks for all you do. but this is my quandary that I can’t get my head around. – Mr. Wickey

JWR Replies: I must begin by reiterating a regular theme: I strongly recommend relocating and living year-round in a lightly-populated farming region, if your work and family situation allow it. The “hunker down” approach will probably suffice in most situations. But in a grid-down societal collapse–when law and order is not restored within a few weeks–your chances of survival will drop off to near nil, if you stay put in a metropolitan region. Granted, the odds of a such a collapse in any given year are very small, but the consequences would be dramatic. A grid down collapse will very likely trigger a massive die-off. In this event your chances of survival would be relatively high in places like The American Redoubt, but pitifully low in the big cities of the northeastern United States.