Traveling to Your Safe Haven During a WROL Event- Part 2, by E.P.

Yesterday, we began this article series on traveling to your safe haven during a without rule of law event. We touched on two major issues. These issues involved how to identify and communicate a WROL event within your group, unite your team’s commitment to its mission through a mission statement as well as agreement upon standard operating procedures and rules of engagement.

Issue 3: Traveling by Vehicle, Standard Operating Procedures

First things first. The suggestions below are just my opinion based on experimentation with several groups over a period of years. Use them as a starting point for your group’s discussions, or don’t use them at all. You may want to handle things differently. That’s fine. Only you and your team know your final location and what you may expect during the trip.

Moving Large Numbers With Least Amount of Casualties

You will be most vulnerable traveling in a vehicle during an WROL event. Unlike a military maneuver, where hardened vehicles and air support are readily available, there will be no resupply or medical evacuation. For these reasons, the discussion below focuses on moving a large number of civilians by road to a safe haven with the least amount of casualties.

When To Travel

When to travel? Experience tells us it’s probably safer for the group to travel at night and to begin traveling late in the evening. If you must leave during the day, drive to a safe location, a group rally point, and wait for other group vehicles. When your allotted group has assembled, begin the drive in earnest at night. This intermediate safe location could be an initial rally point for the group.

The Two Groups You Are Most Likely To Encounter At Night

Most people, except government agents and hostile survival groups, will be slow to change their basic behavioral patterns during the initial phase of a WROL event. Government agents will be better prepared, since they will have the benefit of training and up-to-date information. Likewise, hostile survival groups may well be on the lookout for traveling mutual assistance organizations. These are the two groups you are most likely to encounter.

Fewer people are likely to be on the road at night. In addition, checkpoints and roadblocks are more likely to be either under-manned or the guards inattentive during the late evening and early morning hours. Use the night to your advantage.

Driver Needs Night Vision Device

In order to do so, every driver will need some form of quality night vision device. As a practical matter, every member should be equipped with either night vision or a thermal device. I personally use a Gen 2+ monocular to practice driving in a rural area at night, lights off and cabin lights fully dimmed. I am able to maintain both near and far vision through the glass of the windshield and windows. Note that thermal scopes cannot be used for driving. Window glass will not effectively pass thermal energy.

Non-Drivers Employ Thermal Optics, FLIR Thermal Scopes

Night vision is only required for drivers (because of the glass window issue). In my opinion it’s fine, and maybe even preferable, for non-drivers to employ thermal optics. If a hostile situation arises, and the vehicles are forced to stop, and the team engage with a hostile force, one or more members with thermal scopes can have a significant impact in a night-time encounter. Again, from personal experience, the lower-end 19-25mm objective lens FLIR thermal scopes are just about perfect at identifying and engaging man-sized targets out to 300 yards.

Practice, Behind a Rifle

As with any optic, practice; then, practice more. When you are behind a rifle, under pressure, the one thing that may save your life, as well as the lives of your fellow members, is a firm understanding of your rifle and its ballistics out to range.

Many groups settle on the 62 grain steel tipped 5.56 round as their standard load. While not as accurate as a 69gr or 77gr long range projectiles, the 62gr steel-core projectile is just fine for almost all combat situations and most AR barrel twist rates. Make sure each member can effectively employ their rifle out to at least 200 yards. Frankly, the 5.56 has little drop out to 350 yards. If your team can practice at longer ranges, all the better. For night-time target practice use hand warmers for thermal scopes and IR reflective tape for NV scopes/laser designators.

Encountering Hostiles With Night Vision

Traveling at night while utilizing quality night vision systems will vastly increase your group’s situational awareness compared to potential hostile entities that are unlikely to be equipped with similar devices (especially in quantity). Some hostile individuals may employ night vision. Local and state law enforcement as well as upscale prepper groups are potential examples.

There are a few things to consider when encountering hostiles with night vision. One, are they also employing IR laser designators for pinpoint aiming? Two, are they also equipped with thermal scopes?

IR Laser Designators and Well-Zeroes Thermal Scopes

Most people seem to use night vision as a night-time navigation tool (driving, hiking, scouting, et cetera). Few take the time to mount and zero an IR laser designator. Personally, I find it difficult to connect with targets at night beyond 100 yards with night vision and an IR laser designator. When using a designator, you are no longer using a scoped weapon. Instead the laser dot is used for aiming and the dot is viewed through a night vision device. That’s a few moving parts and each part adds to the chance of your round missing a target at longer ranges. If the other side is not using IR laser designators, you may have a significant advantage.

On the other hand, a well zeroed thermal scope (19-25mm objective lens) is a night-time game changer. Thermal scopes have proven their value when used for night-time hog hunting. Don’t be tricked into buying a larger objective thermal scope. Hunters use the higher magnification to positively identify targets– pigs versus cows, for example.

Designated Marksman

In a WROL situation, anyone shooting at you is a target of opportunity. If it glows and has a rifle (also glowing), it’s a target. Or course, make sure your team is not interspersed with the enemy. Further, while prices have come down for thermal scopes, quality has remained or even increased. Each vehicle would benefit by having at least one designated marksman (DM) with a thermal scope. The DM should not be the driver.

Over-watch Team

At a minimum each passenger sitting next to a vehicle door should be armed with an effective rifle. These members should work as an over-watch team for other vehicles, depending on the situation. The DM should lead the over-watch team. It would be helpful if one of the over-watch team acts as a spotter for the DM and directs the fire of other members.

Standard Operating Procedures

The leadership team will set out standard operating procedures (SOPs) for addressing potential situations along your route. With this in mind, what might your group encounter during the duration of your trip? Two situations jump to the top of the list– checkpoints/roadblocks and interceptions/pullovers.

Alternative Routes and Detours Behind Potential Roadblock Locations

If your team has been planning for several years, you may have already identified a few alternative routes to your safe haven. It’s important to drive these routes well before a WROL event and note locations where checkpoints and/or blockades would be most effective. Narrowing roadways, choke points, intersections, areas beyond sharp bends and overpasses are likely locations. Place these locations on your maps and identify the nearest one or two detour roadways behind each potential roadblock location. You may have to move fast and find an alternate route within a few seconds. Be prepared in advance.

How Many Vehicles

How many vehicles should your group take? The old adage is one is none and two is one. So, the answer is, at least two and hopefully more. If members cannot start out with a multi-car caravan, use a rally point to bring the group’s vehicles together. Then, start out late at night in a combat caravan formation. There is strength in numbers as you make your way to your safe haven.

Safe Distance and Identifying Team Vehicles

When traveling with two or more vehicles, each vehicle should maintain a safe distance between vehicles. At night, and at highway speeds, 100 yards is a good starting point, 150-200 yards during the day. You are trying to balance maintaining group cohesion with not appearing to be a coordinated group. Mount ***IR reflective tape*** or 3M Very High Gain Reflective Tape 3000X to predetermined locations on the front and rear of each vehicle to assist is identifying team vehicles with night vision equipment.

Radio Contact With Drivers

At a minimum, each driver should maintain radio contact with all other drivers. This is the only way to effectively pass along information as new situations arise. Best practices would require that every member carry a transceiver. Non-drivers can keep their radios off to conserve battery life until needed. Pack and have access to extra batteries, vehicle power, or both. It may be several days before you arrive at your safe haven.

Roadblocks and Three-point Turns

Another reason for maintaining longer-than-normal distances between vehicles is to more effectively respond to roadblocks and pull overs. If a roadblock is employed the lead vehicle will see it first. The lead vehicle should pull over to the most defensible side of the road, if any, and alert all other vehicles of the immediate situation. If no real defensive position is available the lead vehicle may wish to execute a three-point turn to reverse direction. During such a maneuver, use the pavement and avoid getting stuck in the ditches that line most roads.

Backing Up a Vehicle At Night

Here’s a quick note on backing up a vehicle at night. Install an external lighting disconnect in each vehicle. This will disconnect power from all exterior lights, including backup lights, triggered by the brake pedal or other means. If you are driving with the lights off, backing up without a disconnect will switch on the backup lights and provide a clear indication that a vehicle is within sight of the roadblock. It also makes for a nice target.

Tomorrow, we will conclude with traveling by vehicle to our safe haven during a WROL event.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

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  1. Sounds like alot of death on both sides. Many of your people if losing a love one in a confrontation will not be combat effective for quite awhile after seeing the spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, or parent with gunshot wounds, most won’t cope anymore in that environment. The romantic notions of mad max will be short lived.

  2. Lessons learned in the sandbox:
    1. Up-Armor whenever you can, but don’t become an obvious target.
    2. Don’t announce your intentions. If the enemy knows where you are going to be and when, you’ve made their job real easy.
    3. Suppression fire is usually a lot more effective when mobile than called shots. If you have to stay and engage, you must have and use overwhelming force.
    4. A drone with NV can keep you out of really hairy situations.
    5. Sometimes you just have to rolls the dice and takes your chances (IEDs, Ambushes, tank traps). If you roll snake eyes, you don’t get to sit and think what to do next, you must act, now.
    6. Having a means to jam radio frequencies can save your life.
    7. Practice like you’re a pit crew at the Indy 500 on changing tires. Sometimes you can beat the clock that way.

  3. Like many, the wise man in Proverbs sees trouble coming and prepares, the fool doesn’t and pays the price; my paraphrase. We’ve all seen this trouble coming, the Bible tells us this trouble is coming; we should be where we need to be now. Putting it off until the last minute, may be the last thing you do. I’m enjoying this authors article, but, you may have to bug out from your retreat, what’s plan B or C or D. So the information is valid. Please, for plan A, don’t wait until your hand is forced, that’s when bad decisions are made.

  4. This should emphasize the importance of leaving before a WROL event takes place if time permits. The casualty count will increase as the WROL event time factor increases. Good intelligence and tracking of developments will make a big difference in an earlier departure time.

  5. This series is thorough. I can’t help but think (and hope) that it will inspire people to live full-time at their retreat and invest in building self-sufficiency (food, water, fuel etc.) and most of all relationships with their neighbors.

    1. There is your answer again. If you are serious about this sort of stuff you’d already be where you’re supposed to be. By waiting until disaster strikes you are putting your entire family at extreme risk.

  6. Having a means to jam radio frequencies can save your life. Is that for IED’s or voice communications?

    How about tear gas, I don’t think anybody is ready for that. Is anything available on the market for delivery to target?

    The last vehicle could release Tear gas if another rig is coming up on the group.

    Laying down oil on the road could also stop a following vehicle.

  7. Assuming night vision or thermal scopes will give you an upper hand is foolish. Best case scenario think of it as leveling the playing field. There are many other groups out there that are waiting for the next SHTF event and they are just as prepared or more so except their intention is to separate as many folks as possible from anything of value . This notion that the “bad guys” are all going to be Ill prepared, undisciplined buffoons with no plan or training is a recipe for disaster.
    In every training evolution you should believe your enemy is is training as hard as you and prepare yourself for the fact that he may be better at it than you. If he is, you had better be adaptable. You’ll never be the best at every thing so you better be really good at a lot of things.

  8. re:
    Driving on roads / walking on trails

    Traveling into the places the government agents and other bushwackers expect me? I think that is a particularly bad idea.

    Speaking of particularly bad, SNAKES ON A PLANE, a 2006 movieprogramming out of Hollywood. Why potentially trap your loved ones along a linear two-dimensional playing field controllable by the opposition?

    (And that is probably the reason I despise train disaster movieprogramming.) (And televisionprogramming scenes with confrontational people moving toward each other along hallways instead of one group poking through walls.)

    Why be predictable?

  9. think that after reading the above and digesting it, if you are not where you want to be when it all goes down, you are not going to make it. Less than half of your group will survive and most likely none.
    CM Dutch

  10. You never really mention what sort of an environment you would be leaving from. For anyone living in a non-urban environment, meaning in a town or city with a population of 500,000 or less, what you discuss might work, although it might not.
    If in an urban area, as others have mentioned previously you would be up a fecal tributary without a method of locomtion.
    Trying to get out of any heavily populated area will be at best very difficult. The commute traffic you may normally expereice would be like a Sunday drive in the country. Consider how crazy people drive when making a regular commute. Now, consider that same commute with people in fear of their lives and at best are boderline hysterical. It would be a Freddie Kruger commute with traffic quickly going nowhere…at a standstill.
    If any kind of a major event happened that would cause you to head for the hills, at least 50% of the people living around you will be doing the same thing, though they may not be as prepared as you are, so you are dealing with nothing but chaos. Trying to plan anything would be in a state of constant flux depending on what was happening in your area. You might actually have to wait days or longer before there was enough calm to make a move.
    As some others have stated previously, if you are not already living in a safe environment, where you don’t have to worry about getting to someplace else, then you are in a heap of trouble.
    If you are not within one tank of gas of where you are trying to get to, you probably won’t get there.
    If you don’t live in a major metro area (including suburbs), then your chances of survival go up.
    No one gets much notice of major events, natural, man-made, or otherwise. So, the best made plans may not ne much to depend on.
    If in an urban/metro area, you best bet would be to be on the outskirts so that you might have a better chance of getting out, especially if you are close to a freeway or a State Highway.
    You have made a lot of plans, I just don’t know how well they will serve you when something unexpected happens. To some extent, we all have to deal with that unexpected scenario, simply because no one knows what will happen or when.

  11. Psalm 144 King James Version (KJV)

    144 Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

    2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

    3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

    4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

    5 Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

  12. The article is on travel safety in a WROL event. It’s not a question of whether an action is right or wrong, it is to act that is necessary. Before or after the ball drops. How many years did Abraham Lincoln struggle to finally get a general that would engage. And then he got two.

    We all know when we need to act, it is to do it morally.

  13. The article is on travel safety in a WROL event. It’s not a question of whether an action is right or wrong, it is to act that is necessary. Before or after the balloon drops. How many years did Abraham Lincoln struggle to finally get a general that would engage. And then he got two. We all know when we need to act, it is to do it morally.

  14. I think if you live in a big city, getting out to where? may be difficult. I would say, find out of all your friends, the best house to turn into a fort. When things go bad all head to a central location, with food guns etc: Be prepared to tough it out for a few months. I figure after a week with no food people will be shooting and killing each other try to be invisible, after a month at least half or more would be dead or very weak, after three months only those that had prepared would still be alive. The danger would be the gangs that spring up in such an event, a 223 would likely injure not kill, this takes more people off the battlefield, of course all preppers have multiple weapons, and lots of ammo. More people in your fort more people can take turns on watch at night. Good luck people, lets hope it never happens.

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