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Long-distance travel during an SHTF scenario: 10 essential tips

Long-distance travel could be extremely difficult and dangerous in an SHTF scenario. Food, fuel and other basic necessities would be scarce. The highway regulations would no longer apply. Thieves and other unsavoury characters stalked the highways, targeting vulnerable travellers.

Here are the top 10 tips you need to know to prepare for these threats should an SHTF scenario occur.

1. Stock up on food and fuel

The mark of a true survivalist is a hidden bunker or supply room filled with water tanks, non-perishables and other survival essentials you might need. Stockpiling valuable supplies is the first and most important step in preparing for any SHTF scenario.

When it comes to fuel, you can start by keeping your car’s fuel tank full by filling up frequently.

Buy spare gas canisters and fill one with extra fuel every few weeks. Gasoline can last up to six months in storage, so you should be able to build up a healthy supply. Clearly label each canister to ensure you fill your vehicle with the oldest gas and don’t waste the freshest gas.

People like to think that SHTF scenarios are highly unlikely, but fuel shortages are starting to look like a real possibility in Europe and the US. Gas shortages could affect your community for months to come. When angry mobs of unprepared citizens gather at gas stations, personal fuel delivery will have you leaving town for a safer place.

You can also consider growing your own food with small livestock or a vegetable garden. Supply chains will collapse, fresh produce supplies will disappear, and grocery stores will be wiped out in a matter of weeks during an SHTF scenario. Having your own sustenance can be the difference between life and death if you have to travel a long distance.

2. Prepare an emergency travel bag

The key to surviving any community emergency is to leave the area as soon as possible. You can’t afford a lollygag. That’s why you need to pack an emergency travel bag so you can get out of town quickly. Your bag should contain food, water, extra clothing, navigation tools, and a self-defence weapon. Always keep it in the trunk of your car.

You might not be home when disaster strikes, so leaving all your belongings in one place doesn’t make sense. An emergency bag allows you to leave the area without stopping at home. You can pick up your loved ones and get out of dodge before the jams start to form. Your inventory may be limited, but it’s better than nothing.

3. Stock your car with emergency items

Along with packing an emergency bag, you should store the car with other items for safety, maintenance, and other miscellaneous tasks. If your home and surroundings become dangerous, your vehicle is the next best option for constant shelter and protection. Keep the following items in your car:

  • FIRST AID KIT
  • Sleeping bag
  • Flashlight
  • Pocket knife
  • Operating Instructions
  • Tire change kit
  • Connecting cables
  • WD-40
  • adhesive tape
  • Work gloves
  • Lighter or matches
  • Gas cylinder

These items will help you turn your vehicle into a portable shelter. You have all the tools you need to provide first aid, perform minor repairs on your car and refuel to continue on your journey. There is no guarantee that an ambulance or roadside assistance service will help you in a large-scale disaster, so you should fend for yourself.

4. Find a vehicle with good mileage

Cars with mechanical issues and substandard mileage won’t last long in an SHTF scenario. If you are unsure of your current vehicle, you must upgrade. Small sedans from manufacturers like Toyota, Ford, Subaru and Honda generally get the best mileage. Some models achieve over 50 mpg on highways.

A hybrid electric vehicle would also be a viable option in this situation. For example, the Mustang Mach-E will go up to 300 miles on a single charge. Hybrids also give you two power sources, which would be very useful in the event of a fuel crisis. You can rely on the car’s electrical power – even when the power grid is still active – and save fuel for later.

5. Be an economical driver

Unnecessary driving habits like idling and speeding will cost you valuable gas in an SHTF scenario. As long as things are going well, you should try to be an economical driver. Keep these smart habits in mind:

  • Don’t waste too much time doing nothing.
  • Depress the gas and brake pedals.
  • Observe speed limits, especially on highways.
  • Roll down the windows instead of relying on the air conditioner.
  • Anticipate traffic flow to avoid frequent starts and stops.
  • Avoid adding heavy modifications to maintain the car’s weight and mileage.

These tips also apply to electric cars, but electric car owners should also pay special attention to the weather. Batteries don’t like the cold and their maximum range will decrease if you put them in harsh conditions too often.

6. Invest in car safety features

Your car will become your main refuge during your long-distance journeys. You need to protect it with security features just like your home. These safety tools will make your travels much safer:

  • Wheel Chock: The car cannot move if one of the wheels is stuck. Police and towing companies often use wheel clamps to remove stolen or unregistered vehicles.
  • Steering Wheel Lock: This item locks the steering wheel in place, preventing anyone from moving far enough to turn.
  • Brake/Clutch Lock: A lock on the clutch or brake prevents thieves from using the pedal until it is disabled with a code or key.
  • Fuse Cut: This device prevents the vehicle from starting until a secret button is activated.
  • Engine cut-off: Stop switches allow you to turn off the engine without sitting behind the wheel.
  • GPS tracker: The owner can use the GPS device to track the location of the stolen car. If you plan to use this item, make sure you have spare batteries.

You may think your vehicle is now safe from thieves, but that can change overnight. Your neighbours could become an immediate threat in a survival situation. Safety is a non-negotiable step in preparing for travel in an SHTF scenario.

7. Finding a safe shelter

Most people have a safe haven in mind if they need to evacuate the city, such as a nearby hotel or a family member’s house. However, these locations may not be available in the popular SHTF scenario. You must build or find another safer place that will not be immediately threatened in the event of a national emergency.

A military base would be your best bet if you can’t build a secret hideout somewhere. Well stocked with provisions, weapons, and trained officials, these places could become popular refuges for desperate travellers. Make sure you know the route to the nearest ones.

8. Map multiple routes

If you’ve seen or read the popular apocalyptic story “The Walking Dead,” you know that traffic jams can be a death sentence for travellers. With thousands of people leaving the city at the same time, you can be sure that the main road will be congested within hours. Hysteria ensues and violence inevitably breaks out.

Therefore, you have to plot multiple routes to make sure you don’t get stuck. Either way, driving in quieter lanes is safer than relying on highways. People who want to take advantage of the chaos will walk the main roads for the stragglers. You can burn fuel faster, but your safety is vital.

9. Choose rest stops wisely

You should also choose rest stops wisely. Gas stations and highway rest stops may not be safe in an SHTF scenario, especially if you’re carrying extra fuel and other valuable supplies. You would be a prime target for thieves and scavengers. When travelling in an emergency, it’s always best to keep a low profile.

When you need to stop to eat, refuel, or use the restroom, go somewhere hidden out of sight and within earshot of the road. If you must spend the night in your vehicle, look for places with natural covers, such as trees and rocks. However, you don’t want to go too far off the beaten path. You may have to leave quickly if you encounter dangerous strangers.

10. Employ passengers

All of these survival kits boil down to one goal: to prevent panic. Panic leads to bad decisions that can lead to injury or death. However, just because you’re calm in the face of disaster doesn’t mean your fellow travellers are. You must occupy your passengers to prevent panic from taking hold of the group.

Give everyone meaningful tasks they can do to distract themselves from the current situation. Provide children with books, board games, puzzles, and other distractions. Everyone should have something to do. This sense of purpose keeps your companions in the right frame of mind and helps you focus on safe driving.

Be prepared for anything

Most of the world’s population is not prepared for an SHTF scenario. Only a small portion of the population has the supplies, skills, and means to survive. Will you stick with the unprepared masses or take action to protect yourself and your family?

In this unstable world, you have to be prepared for anything. Your vehicle is one of your most valuable possessions, so you need to take care of it and store it with the necessary supplies. These precautions will make your travels safer when the time comes.

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