Guest Article: The Timetable For Bugging Out, by H.B.

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We all get nervous when faced with the prospects of possibly bugging out because of a disaster or threat of some kind occurring. Do we leave or stay? 

This has been discussed many times over, and it is based on the type of threat, your particular location, your preparedness, and what all. This article will simply touch on the possible timetable, as it relates to your chances of effectively escaping to your destination without getting caught in the middle of a traffic jam and all of those corresponding issues.

 Let’s review your handling of being actually caught in the jam. Circumstances being what they may, you finally get the family and supplies packed in the car. You get on the interstate and then get caught in the unexpected miles of traffic jam because you weren’t able to see that far ahead.  As we  know from experience, traffic jams can result from road construction, too many vehicles getting on, a disabled vehicle, heavy traffic at on and off intersections, accidents, and now monsters. Now, you are saying to yourself “monsters”? Well, take into consideration literally hundreds of people, scared out of their minds about the THREAT, and you’ll have drivers doing whatever they have to, to get away or to get home to get to their families. Suddenly everything in their way of getting where they are going– whether a tractor trailer, driver cutting in, or a road block– is perceived to be bigger than usual, and people become more aggressive towards it. Thus, there are more “accidents”.

 Face reality, we also know one accident on a normal day can tie up traffic for a couple of hours, and we know that’s why you shouldn’t be there in the first place when a disaster is occurring. So, why am I beating this issue to death? Because the thruway is the quickest way to get from “here to there”, and if it appears relatively open, if you check if before making that last-minute decision on which route to take– IT CAN CHANGE! Here’s where the importance of  that timetable is so critical.

First, we have the threat to you and your family. How soon will that threat impact you? You should know about a pending hurricane several days before it would actually hit your immediate area. Could the direction of travel change?  If it’s a train carrying hazardous materials that goes off the tracks or an accident or fire at a nearby plant that processes dangerous chemicals, how far away do you live, and which way are the winds blowing as it relates to how much time you have to leave. Still, you will have some time to pack the car and decide which direction to take.

If it’s a solar flare or EMP attack that knocks out the power grid (my personal greatest fear), you should take into consideration that most people don’t even comprehend what those threats are, won’t be warned in the normal manner by radio or TV, and will naturally assume that it’s just a normal power outage and the electric will be back on in a few hours. Those people won’t be clogging the thruways, even if their cars were useable.  So again, you will have a little lead time.

Then you’ve got that large percentage of  people who know about an immediate  danger to them,  and they decide that they have to Get Out Of Dodge ASAP, but they’re not at all ready to go. Thinking about the hours it takes the average family to simply get ready to go on vacation, the time it takes them to round up the family members, add in a spouse who thinks that the government will resolve the issue, and that they don’t have any place to go anyway arguing over what to take, and packing for departure, and you can imagine the thousands of families that aren’t going to be hitting the roadways anytime soon. So again, you will have a little lead time.

Remember, those reading this blog and likely many of the others are more or less prepared. We have taken steps to decide what our destination options are– vacation home, retreat, other family members away from the threatened area, the mountains, or for those with campers or tents, campgrounds somewhere. You’ve pre-planned, your kids are rounded up, the vehicle is full of fuel, and you take off.  Remembering the thoughts above,  that most everybody is still only getting a grasp of what’s happening and aren’t reacting quickly (many will sit there watching the coverage on TV not realizing the personal danger to them), you decide to take that interstate. Good idea… NO!

The problem with that decision is that while you may get the jump on most everyone else in your town and you  reach the interstate 15-20 minutes ahead of the masses, and it isn’t clogged or even crowded,  by the time you drive 15 or 20 miles toward your destination, the people in the next town up and the town beyond that will have by then reacted to the threat and are filling that interstate in front of you, causing the clogged condition you were trying to avoid in the first place. So, you’re stuck, or you finally get off and wind up taking back roads you’re not familiar with and which will also be jammed by then.

When evacuating, recognize that the roadways will be considerably more and more clogged as you travel toward your destination.

We all have to realize how important it is, if your not going to hunker-down at home, to be sensitive to potential dangers and if at all possible, leave early– not an hour early but maybe the day before everyone else. It’s better to lose a day’s work than get caught in the city when everything’s falling apart all around you. That “possible” end-of-the-world type warning isn’t likely to happen that often. Better “A day early than an hour late.” You can always use it as a training exercise. Good luck.

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