If disaster hits, you must be ready to leave quickly without attracting unwanted attention. Bugging out by car is the number one and only choice for most preppers. Even more, bugging out by car provides a certain safety from criminal elements. If you plan to do the same when disaster strikes, here is what you should know.
First of all, I will like to make one thing clear. Bugging out by car is not a guarantee that you will safely reach your bug out location. There are many things to consider and you might have to abandon your car at some point. Even so, you should be able to travel much faster and further using a car than any other vehicle.
When your town is affected by an emergency, may it be regional or national; there are two things that will influence the success of your bug out journey. First of all, the nature and the effects of the crisis should dictate your course of action. And second, the time it takes you to put your bug out plan in motion.
As an example, if a wild fire is developing in your area, you should figure out how the situation is evolving. Are they able to keep it under control? When was the initial outburst and how is the situation escalating? Is it heading your way?
When the answer to one of the questions above, threatens the safety of your family, it’s time to act! Bugging out by car would be your only chance of escaping the incoming danger. However, you have to decide when to leave everything behind. Logic dictates that the sooner you do so, the better you will be. You will not have to deal with other panicked drivers and you will not be surprised by weather effects that can change the outcome of the disaster. High winds can cause the fire to spread faster and you might get trapped along the road.
Bugging out by car requires for you to focus on both preparing your car and driving it to safety. There are a few things that would require your full attention. You shouldn’t forget to include them in your bug out plan.
Bugging out by car – Prepping your vehicle:
Upkeep and inspections
Keeping your car in good shape shouldn’t be done only for the end of the world and it should be a general rule. You shouldn’t do the yearly inspection just because your state’s regulations require you to do so. Do it because that car you drive daily keeps you safe and gets you back to your family. You don’t have to be a mechanic to spot if something is wrong with your car. Bugging out by car requires for you to keep your vehicle in perfect working condition.
Keeping a repair kit
When bugging out by car, try to remember to always keep a repair kit inside your vehicle. Don’t take tools from the kit and forget to put them back. The complexity of the repair kit depends on your level of knowledge to do simple or complicated repairs. It might not be the time to learn how to tear down and engine, but you should at least be able to change a flat tire, check the oil and add coolant.
Keep an emergency survival kit
This kit is totally different from your bug out bag although it may contain similar items. When bugging out by car, the first supplies that should be consumed are the ones from your emergency car kit. Leave the items from your bug out bag untouched. The type and number of supplies you should store in your car depends on your budget, family members and level of expertise. Besides emergency provisions, you might want to carry all important documents and valuables you own.
Keep fuel in your garage
When you are bugging out by car, you should do so on a full tank. Chances are you might not be able to refuel on your way home or on your way out of the affected area. As a backup solution, always keep one or two fuel canisters in your garage. One should be taken with you on the road and one should be used to refuel your car.
Keep things organized
Everything you take on the road with you should have its place in your car. Things should be organized for a faster and safer reach. No matter how much stuff you’re carrying with you, always know where certain items are located. This will help you pick the right tools or gear for the job when you are required to do so. Bugging out by car requires a careful planning and organization of your supplies.
Bugging out by car – Traveling tips to reach your BOL
If your car is ready and you are on your way to safety, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Bugging out by car requires for you to do certain things to assure a safe travel.
Forget the GPS
Many people will rely on this system to get out of dodge. However, the GPS is designed to take you on the shortest route. This is not a good idea because that course could lead you back to the source of the problem or you can get in a traffic jam in no time. If you want to be sure you stay on the right path, ditch the GPS and consult a paper map. This also requires for you to know the neighborhood and trust your instincts.
Suggested article: Bugging out without leaving a trail
Keep everything locked up
When bugging out by car, your doors should be locked and windows rolled up. If you travel by night and you want to go unnoticed the lights inside your vehicle should be turned off. If people see what you have inside, they might target you for your supplies. Things should be packed as you would go on a family vacation. It shouldn’t look like the ‘Doomsday Preppers’ are in town.
Don’t stop, just don’t!
By now, you should have an idea of the dangers the crisis is posing and the outcome it will bring. Don’t stop for anything unless it’s an emergency. You shouldn’t stop for directions or to get food and drinks. There is no reason to stop if you have everything you need in your car. Just keep moving if you want to keep your advantage.
Keep your eyes on the road
Bugging out by car requires for you to stay focused on your driving. You should suppress any distractions that may affect your driving abilities or judgment. Turn off the radio and keep the kids busy. Don’t look around and keep your eyes on the road. Don’t make eye contact with anyone you see, they are not your problem. If you need to gather info on how the situation is developing, one of your passengers should help you. He or she can listen to the radio using headphones and provide updates whenever necessary.
Stay away from the herd
This means that you should drive on back streets, not main roads. You should avoid checkpoints, major intersection and barricades. Avoid chokepoints at any cost if you want to keep driving. There’s a reason you see highways packed with abandoned cars in disaster movies. It’s called herd mentality and not taking the safer path. Avoid getting trapped when bugging out by car.
Avoid your vehicle if you must
Regardless how good of a driver you are and how well-prepared your vehicle is, you should be prepared to abandon your car. As I said before, bugging out by car is no guarantee that you will not have to travel by foot. You might make mistakes or things may develop in ways you cannot control. Regardless the reason, you should be prepared for this outcome. If you organized your supplies you should be able to take only what you need (your BOB) without wasting time.
Related reading: How to Travel when SHTF
Don’t leave your car out in the open
When bugging out by car has a different outcome and you are forced to abandon your vehicle, think a step further. You might still have valuable supplies inside your car and it’s no time for charity. Do everything possible to hide your car and the valuables inside it. Drive it off the road into vegetation and use a tarp to camouflage it. Put vegetation near and on top your vehicle to blend it with the environment. You might want to get back for those supplies if the crisis develops even further. It would be a good backup plan to still find everything where you left it.
As you can see, bugging out by car means more than just stuffing your cars with survival supplies. It requires proper planning and organization, but also the right driving etiquette. If your emergency escape includes a bugging out by car scenario, make sure you have all the above covered.
Other Useful Resources:
SPEC OPS Shooting (A Green Beret’s guide to combat and shooting and active shooter defense)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
The LOST WAYS (Vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
US Water Revolution (A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
3 thoughts on “Bugging Out By Car When It Hits The Fan”
Roadblocks on heavily traveled highways in urban areas would produce traffic jams that could be miles long, causing people to simply abandon their vehicles. If you became stuck in that situation, but were absolutely dependent on your vehicle, you would be in very deep trouble.
The largest metro area in my region is (thankfully) about 70 miles away. It contains more than 4.8 million registered vehicles. A forced mass evacuation would put nearly 28,000 miles of vehicles on six evacuation routes (4,600 miles per route if distributed evenly). Unless you are in the front of that herd it could take several days to reach your intended destination. And, of course, all fuel or food sources will have been depleted before you reached them. Resupply would be impossible. If you are fortunate enough to escape your city, every town that you pass through, including my own, will have already been overwhelmed by the evacuation. We have just two grocery stores and six small gas stations. You will not be welcomed. In all probability, roads leading into our town will already be barricaded. Good luck.
you’ll be lucky if you get 5 miles by road before you run into a traffic jam, the main roads and major highways will very quickly end up as a parking lot with abandoned and broken down, run out of fuel, vehicles.
I agree with Ben & lonewolf, jams will be a huge issue, especially if you live in an urban area. However, I really liked your picture of the car with the bikes on top…It gives me ideas.
Thanks for the food for thought, Bob.