Survival Scenarios: Driving after the SHTF

Driving is so simple and relatively safe nowadays. But after the SHTF, that could all change. Desperate people do desperate things. Law and order could breakdown, leaving motorists to fend off criminals without much help.

Visitors to the Summer Olympics in Sao Paulo, Brazil, earlier this year, needed to use caution when traveling the city. Here’s an official report on the Transportation-Safety Situation there. It says:

“[public transportation] buses are often burned, robbed while in transit, and the source of many protests.”

“while driving, motorists can be vulnerable to armed bandits on motorcycles who prey on potential victims waiting at traffic lights or in traffic.”

After the SHTF, there is nothing to prevent this type of situation from occurring in the U.S. We can’t assume that things will always be the same in this nation.

What can a Prepper do? Well, if public transportation becomes unsafe — or I should say, even less safe — taxis and Ubers are an option. If you are driving any significant distance, you are also better off traveling with a friend or family member.

Also, steer clear of areas where there are protests, which could turn violent. This is not often mentioned in prepper writings, but I expect that, after the SHTF, violent protests will be common. For some reason, people think that all their problems can be solved, if they just protest enough. In reality, protests have little effect, and can turn violent, especially when people are desperate.

Now, if you are driving in your own car, you can do several different things to prepare. First, have a go-bag for use on ordinary car trips, not specifically for bugging out. Include a first aid kit, water, a map, and some pre-planned alternate routes. Always have a contingency plan, in case you cannot get home or to your destination.

Should you keep a weapon in the car or bag? That is a complicated question would be too lengthy for this short post. But keep informed of local laws on carry, and on use of force in self-defense.

I would not recommend pepper spray for self-defense in the car. You are in an enclosed space, and so you might end up making your car unusable in the short term. The spray might force you out of your own car, where you would be more vulnerable.

Getting stuck in traffic is annoying. After the SHTF, getting stuck in traffic makes you vulnerable to robbery and other violent crimes. Self-defense while in a car, stuck in traffic, is difficult. You are surrounded by windows. Your assailants can attack, withdraw, and attack again. You are trapped in one location and cannot drive away. So preplanning to avoid traffic jams is going to be very important.

It is possible to reinforce car side windows with a plastic film. Many companies provide this service. It can include adding tinting to the windows, which is also helpful. If an attacker cannot easily break the window, and cannot see inside, he may move on to an easier target.

When driving to a store for necessary supplies, you might be the target of robbers who also need those same supplies (especially food). So a trip to the supermarket must be planned like a military mission. Bring friends or family with you. Consider bringing weapons — but know your local laws! Try to make the trip in and out of the store as quick as possible. Upon arriving home, make certain that the supplies are never left unguarded in the vehicle.

For lengthy or important trips, you might also consider taking more than one vehicle. If vehicle A is attacked, the occupants of vehicle B can help fend them off. If one vehicle is disabled, you can all pile into the other vehicle to reach safety.

A parked car without any occupants is very vulnerable to theft or vandalism. Reinforcing the glass with a plastic film is helpful. But essentially, you can’t defend a parked empty vehicle. Keeping your car in a garage at home is best, but not possible for every driver. At work, parking near a building with windows from occupied rooms is best. For city parking, out on the street, you are taking your chances. Perhaps you should have an inexpensive beat-up looking car, that still drives well, for certain kinds of trips. Save your better car for trips to and from safe parking locations.

When will the SHTF? When you least expect it, so be prepared.

– Thoreau

2 Responses to Survival Scenarios: Driving after the SHTF

  1. I’m of the opinion there will be little or no driving after SHTF. I agree with everything mentioned IF you’re going to try to drive. The big question that anyone should ask themselves at that moment is, “Is going to this other location really going to improve my situation enough to risk getting on the road?” I believe most people have seen enough devastation after hurricanes, ice storms and other weather related disasters to know what they’re getting into. But those will NOT compare to what you’ll find after a SHTF situation. Personally, I’d bug-in for as long as I could before hitting the open road. Months if possible. If you’re concerned with trouble finding you, why get on the road and go looking for trouble by driving up on it?

  2. Informative article, and I’m not “sure” how much driving there will be, after any type of SchumerhittingtheFan “incident”. Will there be Looki-loos wanting to see the devastation, riots, property damage, fires, etc? Of course, people can be and usually are too stupid for their own good.
    Will a few of them be my family? Nope.
    We enjoy being as “invisible” as possible.