Bugging out is a complex undertaking, even under the best of circumstances. But if you think about it, the likelihood of having the best of circumstances is all but impossible. After all, if we’re bugging out, that means everything has already gone to pot or is about to.
Of course, there’s a huge difference between you deciding to bug out for your family’s benefit and your local city government deciding to do a mass evacuation. The city has certain criteria they use for that, based on the danger that the pending disaster is bringing. In the case of hurricanes, for example, the expected storm surge, as predicted by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), is the main criteria used for determining whether to call for a general evacuation. Officials are concerned about that storm surge causing widespread flooding.
This is where the nightmare scenario of the highways turning into 100 mile long parking lots comes from. Are highways aren’t designed for that sort of traffic and expanding them to the point where they could is not financially feasible.
Okay, so what do you do?
As a prepper, you really don’t want to depend on the government making those decisions for you. That means having your own sources of information and your own criteria for bugging out. In the case of hurricanes, just checking in with the National Hurricane Center’s website on a daily basis can provide you with the information needed to make the bug out decision before the government does.
Even with tracking websites like that of the NHC, it’s possible that the government is going to make a decision before you can. After all, they have access to information that you and I don’t. In that case, there’s very little chance that you can get out of town, before the roads fill up. About the only way you could is if you have everything ready to load into the car and live on the edge of town, near the highway. In that case, you might just barely beat the bow wave of traffic.
If you aren’t sure that you can do that, then you’re better off waiting until everyone else is gone and the highways have a chance to clear. Don’t plan on there being any gas available though, as the fleeing mob will have pumped them dry. But then, you won’t be sitting in traffic, burning up gas without moving.
Even doing that, there’s always the chance that you’ll get caught in traffic. It can take over 24 hours for a traffic jam that bad to clear. So, what do you do then?
If you find yourself in that situation, the best thing you can do is get out of it. There’s no real advantage of sitting there in traffic and while you’re sitting there, someone else might be looking you over and thinking that you look like easy pickings for some survival gear. Best if they don’t have that opportunity.
So get off the road, wherever you can. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, that’s even easier. But even if you don’t, just look for the next exit and take it. Get far enough off the road so that you aren’t going to be visible, then find a place to set up camp to wait it out.
While being in a tent, camping, might not be the best place to be in the midst of a hurricane or other disaster, it’s better than sitting in a traffic jam on the highway. You can always get back into the vehicle, if you need protection from the weather. But hopefully an overnight wait will be enough for the traffic jam to clear and you to be on your way.