Traveling to Your Safe Haven During a WROL Event- Part 3, by E.P.

In the first two parts of this article series, we have been talking about traveling to your safe haven during a without rule of law event. Part 2 began the overview on traveling by vehicle. We left off with discussion about roadblocks and multiple cars traveling a good distance apart so that the lead car could make a three-point turn in the reverse direction and warn the other cars in advance of a roadblock. Let’s continue with this scenario.

Over-watch Team Defending the Lead Vehicle

Now is the time for the first vehicle to better assess the situation and report. The second vehicle should immediately pull over as well, maintaining the 100 yard (night)/150 yard (day) separation (maybe even farther depending on your team’s abilities). The over-watch team in the second vehicle should deploy and take up positions that are adequate to support the lead vehicle. All other vehicles should pull over. It may be advisable for these vehicles to group closer together back along the road and maintain a defensive rear guard.

At this point the lead vehicle should report back to the leadership and request instructions, which might be to retreat or otherwise. One question will have to be answered quickly; is the roadblock hostile? Almost by definition, every roadblock is hostile. After all, it’s a roadblock. Those manning the roadblock want to halt your progress. Maybe they will take your supplies, firearms, vehicles, and let you live. That’s doubtful.

Leadership’s SOP Guidance

This is a good time to revert back to your leadership’s SOP guidance. A reasonable assumption is that the roadblock is hostile. If so, how many are manning the roadblock? What’s beyond the roadblock? Is it a city, a small town, reserve hostile forces? There is no good answer absent prior intelligence on the area.

If any of the vehicles are fired upon, retreat may be the better part of valor. If the mission is to get all the members to the safe haven, avoid fire fights if possible. The over-watch team from the second vehicle should lay down suppressive fire (both fire that suppresses the hostile units and fire from suppressed weapons). That’s right, it’s suppressor time.

Meanwhile, the leadership should decide whether to fight or retreat. Suggestions for fighting against a fixed position are beyond this article and are the responsibility of your group’s leadership. If the decision is to retreat, remember you have already scouted alternate routes. The first vehicle should head for the alternate route.

While the first vehicle moves off, members from those vehicles behind the second vehicle should provide over-watch and suppressive fire for the first and second vehicles. The second vehicle over-watch team should remount its vehicle and follow the lead vehicle. Remaining team members to the rear should lay down suppressive fire. Once the second vehicle nears the rear guard, the rear guard should mount their vehicles and the entire caravan should proceed to the alternate route.

Another Roadblock

What if the group runs into another roadblock along the alternate route? Well, now you have some practice. Maybe retreat once again to a second alternate route. If the roadblock is smaller, less well manned, maybe now is the time to fight. Your leadership will decide. Whatever the decision, it is critical for all members to follow orders and their training.

Keep in mind that in any roadblock situation, you are likely up against several scared individuals. They may not be as well trained or equipped. If so, the odds are in your favor. Also remember that your ROE authorizes the use of deadly force when you have been fired upon. Once you decide to fight, fight with fortitude and overwhelming force. It’s likely that the hostile forces are not looking to take prisoners.

Will your group have the ability to defeat the roadblock or should you retreat? If return fire is overwhelming, by all means retreat, scatter and meet up at a designated rally point along your route. Your goal is to make it to safe haven to live to fight another day with as many of your members as possible.

The Pull Over Scenario

The second scenario is the pull over. Your reactions should be somewhat similar to the roadblock scenario except the target vehicle will likely be one of the rear most in your caravan. Why? Because an enforcement official may be looking to confiscate vehicles and/or supplies. On a road, that official is more likely to come up on one or two of the rear vehicles in your convoy. They may not recognize the vehicles as belonging to a larger group until it’s too late.

As such, when your convoy is approached from the rear, expect trouble to occur with tail-end Charlie. If this last vehicle sees flashing lights, it should immediately notify all other vehicles and begin to slowly pull over to the right side of the roadway. The goal is to feign compliance.

Next Vehicle Should Also Pull Over and Deploy Over-Watch

The next vehicle in line should also pull over about 100 yards in front (night)/150-200 yards (day). Whether to pull over to the right or left side should be left to the driver and occupants. If a better defensible position is available on the left, and there is light or no oncoming traffic, pull to the left. The second vehicle’s team should immediately deploy in an over-watch configuration with respect to pulled-over vehicle.

Park in Manner That Allows for Quick Egress

A few notes before discussing further. One, the vehicle pulled over should park in a manner that allows for quick egress towards any natural defensive position. Do not wait. The fire team should immediately deploy. Determine before hand whether your team SOP calls for immediate neutralization of the target.

Deploy Equipment Capable of Jamming Cellular, UHF, and VHF Signals

Two, if the official is observant, and sees a number of vehicles also pulling over, he/she may radio for backup. If your team has access to radio equipment capable of jamming cellular, UHF and VHF signals, deploy it, but be careful not to interfere with your own radio communications.

If your SOP is to initially communicate with the official, you may have a larger problem on your hands in a few minutes or later down the road. It may be possible to immobilize the pursuer’s vehicle and destroy its radio equipment with well-placed shots. It’s something to discuss if non-deadly force is initially pursued. However, understand that anyone attempting to pull you over during a WROL event is likely to be armed, scared, and hostile to your plans.

Invest in Multiple License Plates From Various States

Third, the team should invest in a number of license plates from various states that border the states along your route. Why states outside of those along your route? In an WROL situation, officials will likely still have access to their own state’s vehicle identification database. On the other hand, other states may not allow access to their computer networks. The goal is to avoid being positively identified. Such license plates can be purchased at any number of websites. Take the normal purchasing precautions and keep a set handy in each vehicle.

Vehicles Not Involved in Immediate Over-Watch Duties

All other vehicles not involved in immediate over-watch duties should pull over ahead of the over-watch vehicle and deploy their teams. Drivers should remain in their vehicles with the engines running and all lights off. As soon as the situation is addressed, it’s probably a good idea to seek an alternate route or backtrack until a safe alternative route is selected.

Coordination Between Local Jurisdictions and Government Organizations

Will there be coordination between local officials from different jurisdictions? In a WROL situation all bets are off. Local government organizations may be undermanned and operating in a limited enforcement capacity. If such is the case, take advantage of this fact. Push ahead, if you are close to a county or state line.

Practice Possible Situations

The above are only two possible situations your group may encounter while traveling to your safe haven. Some situations will require the use of deadly force. Others may only require disabling the pursuer’s vehicle and communications equipment. For either type of response, practice. Practice driving at night with the lights off, pulling over, identifying defensive positions, and managing radio communications. Draft and fully understand your SOPs and ROE. Practice exiting your vehicles with your carry firearms and moving to an over-watch position. The list of things to practice is almost without limit. Prioritize and practice. When the time comes to deploy and protect your team, you will be ready and that much more likely to make it to your safe haven.

Summary of Issue 3

A summary of Issue 3 actions for your group follows:

  1. Decide when to travel, day or night,
  2. Utilize an initial rally point to gather all vehicles before pushing ahead,
  3. If driving at night, employ night vision and thermal scopes to your advantage,
  4. Each vehicle should have a dedicated marksman (DM) capable of effectively engaging targets out to 600 yards during the day and 200 yards at night,
  5. Maintain effective vehicle spacing and communications,
  6. For night driving, identity your vehicles (front and back) with reflective IR patches or tape,
  7. Use license plates from other states to mask your vehicle’s identity,
  8. Discuss and walk through the two most common on-the-road scenarios– roadblocks and being pulled over, and
  9. Practice over-watch deployments, and
  10. Understand your SOPs and ROE, and decide beforehand when to use deadly force and when non-deadly force will be enough to protect your group.


The ideas presented above have been floating around in my head for several years and many were put into practice by my last group. I don’t like the idea of using deadly force indiscriminately. However, if anything, I am a pragmatic person. It is absolutely critical that groups discuss SOPs and ROE well before a WROL event takes place. People are creatures of emotion, and emotions can work to our disadvantage especially when faced with a catastrophic event.

Keep Things Simple

Keep things simple. We don’t work well with complexities under pressure. Instead, we tend to fall back on muscle memory. This is the main reason for walking through the various scenarios above and getting on the range for firearms training and on the road for vehicle training. Train as you fight, and fight as you train. The more you train, the less there is the think about when the SHTF.

Comment to Contact Me For Additional Advice

There are many more issues to address with respect to SOPs and ROE in response to a WROL event. With the exception of basic articles, I usually do not share my views in a public forum. Individuals or groups may comment in order to contact me for additional advice with respect to retreat organization, long-distance shooting, reloading, machining, electronics and/or radio-based communications.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

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  1. This is the second “bug out” article I have read on SurvivalBlog in the past couple of weeks that is promoting illegal activities.

    “If your team has access to radio equipment capable of jamming cellular, UHF and VHF signals, deploy it, but be careful not to interfere with your own radio communications.”

    From the FCC, “We remind and warn consumers that it is a violation of federal law to use a cell jammer or similar devices that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications such as cell phones, police radar, GPS, and Wi-Fi.”

    If you are interested in survival during a crisis, your odds of surviving may increase if you do not turn in a savage at the first sign of trouble. Let us consider taking the hysteria and illegal activities out of our survival plans?

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. I would also remind readers of something that I mentioned in my first novel, Patriots: Perhaps the worst place to be when the power grids go down is confined in a jail or prison!

      1. Well said, James.

        Further, let us also consider the modern climate of security in not only America, but also the world.

        Surveillance and monitoring human behavior through “big-data” has become a huge consumer market. If you follow the news regularly, there are weekly articles that discuss how people are being monitored. How this relates to this article is through an initiative called “Looking Glass”. This is a algorithm of sorts that attempts a threat assessment based upon meta-data. If you are buying cell phone jammers along with all your other preps, consider that you are approaching survival wrong. I suggest this because just as James said, you do not want to be confined to a prison because you’ve bought a score of illegal items that can and will be framed in a court of law that you are a terrorist. Just something to consider.

      2. The absolute worst place to be during a WROL crisis is laying dead, burned to a crisp, in your suburban “bug in” location because your defense of same enraged the looting mob to the point they just burned you out. Alternately, you could actually end up in that jail cell under a different kind of WROL situation when men in black fatigues kick down your door and drag you away.
        In both cases, you misjudged how things were going to play out and waited too long to leave; the topics discussed in this article may have had application to the situations you may have run into had you left when you needed to.
        The apprentice asks the master. “Master, why do you preach peace but prepare for war?” To which the master replies, “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” I prefer to garden but the warrior must be ready if needed.

  2. Excellent article but a few things. During Hurricane Katrina the first thing the authorities did was disarm the people. They even disarmed people on their boats. It was funny in watching the documentary because people were so eager to show they were telling the truth believing that the authorities will just let them go with their guns for being honest. The best thing is to avoid all contacts with authorities. All contact. I would rather come across an armed gang than authorities who have deep resources and radios which can reach Washington.

    I would avoid all roadblocks. If you must, wait till night and have your team hike around the roadblock with all valuables. Then set up a shooting position from beyond it as you drive through with your car absent of firearms/ valuables.

    Don’t switch license plates unless you have insurance and registration to match. Every police check Point I’ve been through they asked for those two documents plus drivers license.

  3. Subjecting friends and loved ones to this type of rigorous adventure is worse than inhumane. This entire series is movie fiction at its worst. Why would anyone stay in a known, dangerous and violent large city. I believe it is akin to remaining in a burning movie theater and refusing to leave until your clothes catch fire. Is the film so entertaining or is your denial that the theater is ablaze your driving force? You must be in your ark when it starts to rain. You must choose Christ as your savior before you die. You must leave the theater when you smell smoke. You have been smelling smoke for years… as in the days of Noah.

  4. Muddy kid made a good point. Don’t forget that gas masks and bullet proof vests are also on that list of items one could be tagged as a bad guy.

  5. RE: Being in jail when the SHTF. I once briefed the County leadership (mayor, police chief, hospital administration, etc) on the potential impacts of an EMP or Solar Flare. After the presentation, I was talking to the Police Chief and asked him what he would do with the prisoners in his jail if the grid went down for an extended period. His reply was “I’d turn them over to the Sheriff.”
    In an extended grid down situation, the Jailer and Sheriff will have to make several painful decisions, whether to release career criminals as well as petty ones. I suspect the petty criminals will be released fairly quickly, but the career criminals to be retained as long as they can be fed. Once food becomes scarce, some Sheriffs may just lock the doors and walk away. Others will release even career criminals. Neither is a good solution.

  6. Everyone has the right to choose their own lifestyle. If everyone thought the same, we’d only need one cable channel. Life is about decisions. People who choose to live a simple, subsistence lifestyle in a remote area because they believe that an apocalyptic societal meltdown is coming make a choice, and it may well be the right one. Time may prove that they were right.

    However, most people, even those who are very much into preparing for bad times, want to earn a good income, have an affordable healthcare plan (and, hopefully, one paid for by their employer), have dental insurance, send their kids to great elementary and secondary schools, and send their kids to college without saddling them with mounds of student loans. And, then there is the huge issue of being able to earn enough money to have a comfortable retirement, one that does not mean that they have to wait for their Social Security check to arrive each month before they can make the next trip to the supermarket, or to put off having that crown that will prevent the need for a tooth extraction.

    These people mostly choose to live closer to urban areas because they can’t take their jobs with them. Beyond that, they just don’t want to live on a mountaintop by themselves and make contact with their kids, grandkids, and friends and other loved ones a sporadic or sometimes even an annual event.

    Of course, by choosing this lifestyle, they have accepted the risk that things can go wrong very quickly, far more quickly than they would like, and, as a result, they may pay a heavy penalty in the long run for making this choice.

    Again, life is about choices. It is all too common to hear hermits posting messages on forums while sitting in Unabomber cabins on a 1/2 acre plot surrounded by BLM land, 25 miles from the nearest gas station or mini-mart, telling others to move–and to move now. While some people prefer to live in an unsinkable lifeboat, impliedly and even vocally criticizing those who wish to make the oceanic voyage in a state room for as long as they can, it is not helpful to hear that everyone should do so. In its most innocuous form, it amounts to passive aggression.

    About lifeboats, this reminds me. Everyone who knows anything about the Titanic knows that some lifeboats left the ship only half-filled. Most of the time this has been attributed to uncaring individuals who were only concerned with their own safety. As a result, the impression has been that far more lives were lost than necessary.

    I have read that the real reason these lifeboats left was because many passengers refused to believe that the ship could sink, everything seemed “safe enough” at the time, and they had no interest in being tossed around on the ocean in the dark of night in such small craft. Most assuredly, part of their bad choice was affected by “normalcy bias.”

    That very issue of normalcy bias is part of a bug out decision in which some of the author’s ideas could be applied.

    The author’s scenario is “totally Mad Max” and would likely serve as the basis for the next installment in dystopian fiction. Yet, many people choosing an urban/suburban lifestyle for all of the economic and social benefits provided who read this blog probably found some useful ideas in it–even if some of them might be considered more than a bit over the top.

    Urbanites/surburbanites will simply have to hope, with eyes wide open, that their lifestyle choice doesn’t mean that they will never have the chance to use these ideas. It is clear that most of these people are, for the reasons indicated, willing to take the risk.

  7. JD gives good advice.

    The advice I suggest you take is to download the US Army Field Manual on Convoy Operations. I tried to post a link to it here twice in the past two days, but the software here won’t allow it.

    So find it, download the 100+ page pdf file, and read through it with your friends. Ninety percent of convoy succcess is in pre-planning, pre-checking, pre-equiping, and pre-training your drivers, guards, navigators, scouts, comuunicators. Then do a live rehearsal.

    We do it here in the US and we did it on the Pakistan border.

    God Bless

  8. Hopefully, Folks with good foresight may have the impulse to relocate before things go this bad. Fortunately if things really are that bad, this article presents ideas on how to deal with the situations that may be deadly to the Average citizen. Ask yourself this: If things do get this bad, to what lengths are you willing to go to protect your well being, an/or the well being of your loved ones. This article may present some “moral dilemma’s” for the average citizen.

  9. I will assume that everyone who will need to go somewhere in difficult times has a good reason to leave when they do and that they had good reasons to stay as long as they did and that they also know where they want to go and will have good reasons for trying to get there. However I think there might be a better plan than a Mad Max dash with a fully loaded convoy of valuables operated by an inexperienced paramilitary gang busting through roadblocks and shooting out every flashing blue light encountered. After all I might be manning one of those road blocks to protect my community and family from a bunch of marauders that your group very much resembles! If your first action is to jam my communications why should I not consider you the aggressor and immediately blast you and your entire convoy to Hell and back? If you approached with less hostility, after our leaders parley my group might allow you to pass or show you an alternate route. We are not necessarily hostile because we are armed, after all, we are in a DEFENSIVE position, you are mobile and therefor in an ATTACK mode if you approach!

    The better plan or a Plan B, C, or D could be to have your survival items and valuables stashed safely at your destination (you can determine how to make them safe until you get there) and a few cashes of essentials (food, fuel, weapons & ammo etc.) along your route. Travel light be as non confrontational as possible and present a nonthreatening profile. This does not mean being completely submissive or unarmed, but it might mean some of you sneak around roadblocks with your weapons and essentials while one gets permission to drive through. After all, if he is an ugly old guy that limps on one leg, smells bad, has a half a pint of cheap whiskey in his pocket flask, a fifth of a tank of gas in his old beater car, and he gives up his wallet and the gold ring from his finger, why not let him drive on? If they will not permit the vehicle to pass and you can’t drive around you call all walk, hopefully you selected a destination within walking distance or you have another old car stashed up ahead. You’ve all heard it before, the most survivable fight is the one you avoid!

  10. I wonder where all the manpower to maintain roadblocks would come from? I have some experience with Katrina and what I witnessed was no police, roadblocks, etc., until days later and that was for entering the area.

    I also wonder where all the well trained, armed, and organized bad guys would come from or why they would mess with the roads? Perhaps much later, but in those first days, there will be plenty of easier pickings than the highways!

    I know roadblocks is a major scenario in Prepper make believe land, but are there any real accounts of this happening following recent events?

    1. Bad Guys or more likely Guys wishing to protect their community from Marauders and Psychopath,s which would be a very fitting description of anyone who follows E.P.´´s Rules.

  11. Bad guys don’t need to be numerous, well trained or well organized to do their work. They do need or prefer victims in isolated places were there is likely to be no law enforcement, such as lonely stretches of road. Though I have no personal experience with it I believe road blocks for theft and assorted mayhem have been common in third world war torn regions through out history. Not the same thing as a U. S. natural disaster.

  12. Wow, this writer describes what seem to be advanced military operations, requiring much training and organization. These scenarios may be realistic for a highly trained force, but let’s be honest here, most of America will be watching their TV’s some evening and then they won’t. The lights will go out and all Hell will break loose, everyone out in the street wondering what the heck just happened. Of course it will be too late, but maybe that is the point of this writing, only a few highly trained and experienced military types will survive. Myself, I will shelter in place, a shotgun at each door. I’ve got many #10 cans of food and if these preps are insufficient I turn matters over to my Creator. Thanks so much for the thought provoking articles, but at some point we may be powerless to intervene in God’s plan. The world will end as we know it and His kingdom will be established, our preps will mean nothing. My prep is to be certain that I am a believer and that His will be done. Goodnight.

  13. Somebody help me out here. We’re continuously reading and writing these fantasy articles here on SurvivalBlog and on other sites and James Wesley Rawles writes novels along these same lines and now EP writes a “what if, and it’s about WROL” which I suppose means Without Rule of Law. And now we have Muddykid and James Wesley Rawles correcting him and telling us how people are going to get in trouble if they do these very things. Somebody please tell me exactly what WROL means. I know Muddykid must be from the Government and is here to help, but when and if the Schumer Hits The Fan, are people really going to worry about the FCC. I do a little prepping and everything else I read on these sites is just Entertainment and Fantasy! Trekker Out

    1. No, I am not from the government. I do study security, however. I am working on a article when I have spare time to clarify on some of my comments in recent weeks.

      I am not speaking for Rawles, nor do I even know him outside of reading his fiction novels and reading this website for the past 10 years. However, it should be clear that Rawles writes fiction novels, and these writing contests are supposed to be non-fiction.

      I probably should not even comment on these articles because my perspective goes against the grain of what survival has become. I hope to have an article for Survivalblog’s consideration in the future. I only comment because I am interested in survival and I think there is a difference between ways to act in an emergency that is useful for survival and survival fiction. To be continued…

  14. @E.P.

    Your so called RoE and the Moral behaviour you advocate are hero(Hollywood movie) or better absolutly centered on your Group.

    You propose your Group has the absolutly Right to passage, others haven´t even the Right to life.

    They´re the danger communities build roadblocks on their Perimeter to the legitimate necessity of of protect their community against them.

  15. Again, life is about choices. It is all too common to hear hermits posting messages on forums while sitting in Unabomber cabins on a 1/2 acre plot surrounded by BLM land, 25 miles from the nearest gas station or mini-mart, telling others to move–and to move now. While some people prefer to live in an unsinkable lifeboat, impliedly and even vocally criticizing those who wish to make the oceanic voyage in a state room for as long as they can, it is not helpful to hear that everyone should do so. In its most innocuous form, it amounts to passive aggression.

    Really! I almost feel bad! A modern home, many acres of land, sitting by a huge swath of protected land, and having an income far above middle class! Please don’t paint all rural folks as simpletons. It is 20 miles to the nearest gas station, but my internet is fast and Amazon delivers!

    I will admit I encourage people to leave urban areas, but it is not about some future event, it is about the hear and now. I you want to live and raise your children in that kind of environment – by all means do so, but I don’t need to lock my doors and I personally know my neighbors!

  16. While I I understand your point about “illegal” activities being recommended, you must also remember the scenario u see which these are being discussed, I.e. WORL!!!
    It is a contradiction to say something is an illegal act, if there is no Rule of Law at the time it is committed.

    Don’t get me wrong, under normal circumstances I would not plan on such actions. If I am bugging out (imho way too late), under a WORL scenario, an entirely different set of SOP and ROE will apply.

  17. Anonymous,

    That’s great if you have been able to make the transition to an area that provides what you need in life. I am not sure what you mean when you say that you have an income “far above middle class,” since middle class is a standard about which opinions will seriously differ.

    The average person, however, cannot just pack up and head to a mountaintop. Their background, education, and life experience doesn’t support such a decision. And, of course, their willingness to sever strong ties with family, friends, and loved ones also keeps them from making such a decision. To others, these concerns mean nothing, as they have no such ties.

    I have friends who looked at moving to an ideal survivalist retreat they found in a mountain state. Everything they needed for everyday life was there. It was just about as self-sufficient as one could imagine. Yet, the retreat was accessible only via a dirt road that took 45 minutes to transgress from and to the main highway. As the wife works as a medical research consultant who flies several times a year to different parts of the country, this was simply not going to work, especially in winter. The husband, likewise, works as a professional, and his need to travel to different parts of the country would likewise be seriously impaired were he to have chosen this ideal survival retreat as a residence. As it turned out, they chose a much more accessible location in Utah with relatively easy access to air connections to any place in the country. They are very satisfied with their new location.

    For those who are employed at a much more modest level and with a simpler occupation, just picking up and heading for a remote location and hoping to get hired at a local company at modest wages doesn’t bode well for their family’s future financial well-being.

    I wonder just how people who decide to live off-grid handle healthcare expense, retirement planning, and the education of their children beyond the high school level. I don’t know for sure, but I wonder if perhaps 1 in 10 of them have these issues covered. The rest?

    If your lifestyle works for you and you are satisfied, more power to you. It is just not appropriate to say that this is a choice that will work out well for everyone.

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