Moving by Vehicle in High Threat Environments

This is a guest post written by Max Velocity – You can visit his website here.

The intent of this article is to act as an introduction with some thoughts and primers for moving your family or group in high threat environments. It is not intended to give all the answers and that would be beyond the scope of this short piece. The type of environment envisioned is a post-collapse situation where there has been a breakdown in law and order. To clarify, this article is not concerned with the sort of ‘bug-out’ movement that families may conduct in response to a localized natural disaster, where you have to get in your car with some basic equipment and move out of the impacted area. Rather, this is directed at those who find they have to move locations after a significant societal collapse has happened.

As background it is clear that to read the conventional prepper wisdom to survive any coming apocalypse you need to be in a fortified self-sustaining retreat somewhere out in the boonies, with three years of food in the basement and the ability to grow food plus animals. This is the gold standard; you will be really well positioned if that is where you are with your preparations. The reality for many is that they simply do not have that. For whatever reason, they may be in an urban or suburban environment. They may have nowhere else to realistically ‘bug out’ to. They may have a goal to achieve the retreat, but not be there yet, or have bug out land that is fairly basic and requires them to move to it following a collapse. So there may be a reality gap between those that have achieved the gold standard of location and preparations, and those that are not there yet. What I am really concerned about here is a collapse of society, the veritable ‘TEOTWAWKI’, where it all goes to chaos, the ‘SHTF’. For most of us who are not at the ‘gold standard’, we will be left to survive where we are, in our suburban homes or whatever applies to you. Now, it is true that some will be better set up than others. Reasons include location, such as an inner city one bedroom apartment versus a big house on several acres in a sub-division, or the amount of preps that you have: food supplies etc.

Everything depends on the situation and the threat that emerges, including your own personal and family situation and preparations. One key thing is not to make assumptions now, but to remain flexible. My advice is not to ‘head for the hills’ by reflex, because unless you have somewhere to go you will be out there with the rest of the refugees in the chaos. If you even have a minimal amount of preparations at home you should shelter in place and make do the best you can. This should be a low profile shelter in place where you set yourself up to draw minimum attention to yourself as the waves of chaos pass. You may be sheltering in a basement with your family, for example. Of course, if the threat changes, then you will need to adapt to it. An organized gang of well-armed marauders going house to house in your neighborhood would be an example of when to make the decision to bug out. Be flexible and don’t go the opposite of the ‘head for the hills’ mentality and die in your basement simply because you did not want to pack up and go. However, I think that it is given that for anyone sheltering with supplies in this way there will at some point come one or more challenges such as home invasion from outside groups. This will also probably apply to those in rural retreats at some point as the horde fans out looking to survive. Be ready to respond and defend yourself against these challenges as necessary. Think of how it will likely be after the event, not how things are right now. Those in the rural retreats will probably have a rude awakening when they realize that the horde has reached them and the demographics have changed!

I think that there are two main things that you have to achieve, phases if you like, in order to survive in the long term:

1) Have enough stores, firearms, tactical ability and numbers if possible, as well as a covert location in order to survive the event and the initial chaos and disorder. This is a short to medium term goal.

2) Long term, you will need to be able to live in a protected sustainable community. All prepper stores will run out in the end and the only solution to survive and thrive is to be able to produce food and protect your people and your resources.

So, unless you started in a sustainable protected retreat, you will have to survive where you are until such time as you can get to one. Remember that in a full TEOTWAWKI scenario there will be mass panic and chaos as people try to find food and survive. There will be a huge population die-off and there will likely be a delay of a year or two before food can be produced. You have to survive from the one to the other. Even after the die–off there will still be good and bad guys out there. Good guys probably living in those sustainable retreats or locations, bad guys marauding and living off what they can loot and pillage. There may be other complicating factors, such as civil war or foreign invasion. I use the TV series ‘Jericho’ as an example of this.

So, if you survived the event and were not already in that ideal retreat, you then have to move. Did you hide and protect your bug out vehicle with a supply of stored gas? Are you going to have to walk, or use other modes of transport? The key thing is that your group will have to make it to somewhere where they can be accepted by a current sustainable community, or move onto land where they can create one. This will involve travel of some sort and also the ability to defend your group while moving from A to B. If it is true TEOTWAWKI, then it could go on for years and you may have to travel to establish a farm somewhere. If you are going to be taken in by a community or small town that is sustaining itself, then you have to show your worth in some way. This can also become relevant to those who find themselves in the ‘gold standard’ prepper retreat location, because some of the factors may change to make that position no longer tenable. So, at some point it may be relevant to all that they will have to move in vehicles in a post collapse environment. Some good feedback that I have received is about communities in good defendable locations and the potential to take in good people after a collapse. The reasoning from one prepper was that although the community needed to be defended, good people could be screened and admitted and lodge with some of the elderly folk who have land but lack physical muscle to get things done. It smacks of a return to an older model of society where communities and villages mucked in together and children were looked after by the whole village while others worked the land.

If you have to conduct vehicle movement in a post collapse environment then you will need to assume an extant threat. Such a threat will take the form, in simple terms, of armed groups and individuals who will seek to impinge on you and your family’s freedom, property or life for their own ends. There could be road blocks, ambush, mobs, tricks and all sorts of threats. You will also have to consider the extent that any law enforcement remains active, which could also include emergency or martial law. For example, if you are moving you will have to assess the situations as they appear and decide whether you are facing a legal checkpoint (i.e. military/law enforcement) versus perhaps an illegal roadblock with bad intent versus perhaps an ‘illegal’ one with simply defensive intent, such as one set up by a community militia to defend a town. The types of threat are numerous and to fully define them is also beyond the scope of this article; suffice to say that the means (firearms) are out there and the intent and motive will exist for the ‘bad guys’ to wish to do you harm. This is particularly true if you are moving with supplies in a collapse situation. Therefore, you will need to consider the adoption of defensive tactics and capabilities in order to mitigate against the threat.

Please put out of your mind any assumptions that you may have already about how you will move in this kind of environment. I am not advocating the use of children as ‘shooters’, the open display of weapons out of car windows, or even the positioning of a ‘shooter’ in a sunroof. In short, this is not about going ‘Mad Max’. You will need to consider the ‘profile’ that you adopt, which means how your vehicle packet appears as you are moving along the roads and at halts, and will also have implications for the professionalism that you display. You can adopt either a ‘high’ or ‘low’ profile (or posture) and I would advocate that in this situation, as a family or group of civilians moving in a potentially hostile post collapse environment, that you adopt the lower end of the profile scale. This does not impact your defensive capability, and it could be said you make you a more inviting target if you look ‘softer’. However, you do not want to incite action against you by hostiles and there may well still be elements of military or law enforcement working out there and you don’t want to find yourself arrested or engaged by these elements because you yourselves are seen as a lawless threat. This is not a discussion about creating tactical teams or quick reaction forces, which I have written about elsewhere and will be useful in other circumstances; it is more about mitigating risk to a family or friends group moving cross country.

Consider how you can maintain a defensive capability while also presenting a low profile. For example, consider your vehicles. Families often have minivans. These are not seen as cool or tactical at all, but if you put the seats down in the back you have a huge cargo space. Loading this with supplies would allow you to carry them while not making it look so obvious, less obvious than loading a pick-up or a trailer for example. Wear your load/ammunition carrying equipment in a way that is comfortable for sitting in a vehicle but less obvious – perhaps putting a shirt over top of a load carrying vest, and keeping weapons down but accessible. If you have to get out and stand by your vehicle you can do so with your weapon in a ready position, but you can also leave it on the seat next to you and readily available, depending on the situation and the profile you wish to portray. Consider these things.

Remember that your vehicle gives you no protection. Rifle rounds will cut through the vehicle like a ‘knife through butter’. The only ‘hardened’ areas in a normal civilian vehicle are the engine block and the metal parts of the wheels. This is why if you are taking fire position next to a vehicle, you want to shelter by the engine or wheel wells; preferably you will then move away from the vehicle into a fire position in hard cover. You should consider how you may be able to change this by creating better ballistic protection in the vehicles. Wearing body armor is a help but provides little protection to the side of torso and thighs that are vulnerable to side shots as you are driving. Younger kids will also not be wearing it. You should consider how you can better ballistically protect the vehicle and occupants from this kind of threat. You can fix steel plate to the inside of doors if you have the capability. You could put all the seats down in the back of a van and put in an open top steel box with access doors to shelter the kids in. If you can’t go this far, you can consider other types of ballistic protection by where people sit, even phone books will stop a round! Spare body armor and ballistic plates lining the side of the vehicle, other types or hardened material will also work including creating a space inside the load you are carrying in which to shelter kids. You also need to know that in a normal car, the ballistic protection thing works both ways: the vehicle skin will not stop incoming rounds, which also means that you can fire out through the vehicle if you need to. Don’t worry about winding windows down, you can fire out through the glass or body of the vehicle as you need to.

Seat belts are always a good idea, but the need for them can be countered by the need to keep speed low in order to be able to view the road ahead and try to avoid threats as they emerge ahead, particularly as you come around bends. I say this not because I advocate not using seat belts, but because kid’s car seats can be a problem for protection and also getting the kids out of the car in a hurry. They keep the kids sitting up high and if there is a contact involving enemy fire everyone needs to be as low as possible in the foot wells of the vehicles. Consider not using car seats and moving at slower tactical speeds. Also consider putting seats down and having the kids sitting on the floor, or perhaps secure the car seats to strong points in the floor rather than up on the vehicle seats. Consider how you will do this.

You may be a small group of family or friends that has to move locations. The worst case is that you will move in one vehicle. You may well be limited in terms of who is trained and equipped to be tactically useful in defense of your group. Hopefully it is not just one of the spouses that is tactically able, or a single parent family moving. The time to train, prepare and get the right equipment and firearms is now. If you have one vehicle you are very vulnerable and have no tactical options or redundancy. A normal standard type family often has two spouses, kids and a couple of cars. This is still worst case but may be reality: if you have no more numbers to make up a tactical convoy then take both vehicles. One of the spouses drives the first vehicle in a recce function, perhaps carrying the stores, while the other spouse drives the second vehicle with the kids and other supplies. As you move keep a ‘tactical’ bound between vehicles, even at stops, where possible. A ‘tactical bound’ is a distance that depends on the ground and will vary, but in simple terms it is enough distance so that the second vehicle is not involved in the contact that the first one gets in to. Keep a bit of space there. Consider the use of more vehicles because it will give you tactical options and better allow you to protect the kids or other ‘protected persons’. More vehicles allow you to carry more supplies. Trailers will detract from your tactical mobility options, including reversing in a crisis, and therefore if you can move the stores into the vehicles you will be better off.

The single family unit moving is still a worst case situation that can be mitigated a little by moving in two vehicles. Ideally, you will want to get together with a group or other family(s) where you have enough ‘shooters’ and drivers to create a minimum three vehicle packet. This will allow you to create a tactical close protection packet where you have an advance vehicle, a middle vehicle(s) for the protected personnel and a rear chase or counter attack (CAT) vehicle. This will greatly enhance your tactical options, redundancy and protection of the loved ones. This could even consist of variations such as an RV in the center with the protected personnel in, with front and rear protection vehicles.

As you are driving, the driver’s job is to drive and he should preferably be capable as a ‘shooter’ but primarily the vehicle is his ‘weapon’ and the means to keep people safe. The other ‘shooters’ will be assigned observation sectors of responsibility as they move along the route. You should adopt a safe tactical speed that will give you warning of any dangers ahead and hopefully allow you to avoid them. Your primary focus should be on safety and the avoidance of danger. Invest time in route planning. Don’t be afraid to stop and move forward on foot to observe the route ahead, or turn around and go another way. Make sure you adopt the tactical bounds between vehicles and if you stop for any reason, such as to change a tire, fill up gas from your stored gas cans, or even for the night, you need to adopt a good tactical position and cover your sectors to protect the convoy. For longer term halts, such as overnight, conceal the vehicles off the road and post sentries. As you move, you will need to have any music off and consider having the windows open in unarmored vehicles in rural areas in order to be able to hear and get a better feel for the environment, particularly if you stop for any reason. But if you are anywhere where there is the potential for people or mobs then you need to have the doors locked and the windows up to reduce the risk of entry and even people getting snatched from vehicles.

If you are driving and you come under enemy fire (’contact’) then you are in the enemy ‘killing area’ also known as the ‘X’ and the key thing is to get off the X as rapidly as possible. You may take casualties but you still need to get out of there and consolidate at a secured rally point. This is where any added ballistic protection will be priceless. A problem you may have is if you have a vehicle(s) immobilized by enemy fire on the X. These situations and the counter drills are covered in detail in ‘Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival’. Briefly, you have to get the personnel off the X and this can either be with a rescue vehicle moving back into the killing area under cover fire and ‘cross decking’ the personnel, or alternatively the personnel in the immobilized vehicle(s) will have to fire and move off the X to rejoin the group under covering fire. Consider that for an unarmored vehicle one of the reasons that it may potentially be immobilized is that the driver has been shot. This is not truly immobilized in the sense that the engine or tires have not been shot out. Survivability will be greatly increased by the use of run-flat tires and added ballistic protection. If the driver is shot then you may be able to rapidly pull them out of their seat into the back of the vehicle and take their place. For an automatic transmission it may be that the passenger can simply jam his foot onto the accelerator from the passenger seat and drive the vehicle out. Consider how you will do this and have a drill for it. If you can’t accomplish this quickly, then you are for all intents and purposes in an immobilized vehicle and you will have to dismount to fire positions before either being rescued or fighting out of the ambush. Be aware that any vehicle immobilized on the X becomes a ‘bullet magnet’ and you do not want to be inside it, static, for any more than a few seconds.

You will want to consider whether you are moving by day or by night. The situation will dictate but in general if you don’t have night vision equipment for driving, which means driving with headlights, then you should move during the day. This will allow you to scan and observe and your movement will also be less obvious without your headlights as it would be at night. You will need to give consideration to the threats you may encounter and drill your team accordingly. You may have to respond to roadside ambush, and this may be with the road open or blocked and with your vehicles perhaps becoming immobilized or receiving casualties. You will also have to work out how you will respond to roadblocks, both legal and illegal and what you will do if you observe them early of if you drive into one without prior warning. It is important that your practice these ‘actions on’ drills so that you will be able to respond in a crisis. You should even practice ‘cross decking’ and getting the kids out of the vehicles in an emergency, so that they know what to expect and are not surprised when you start giving them commands to ‘get down’ or get out of the vehicles. You can train this kind of muscle memory drill in the same way that kids do fire drills and ‘stop drop and roll’ at school.

If you do find yourself in a position where it is the protected vehicle that is immobilized and under fire, then there needs to be at least on adult acting as the protection person and directing the protected personnel to stay low and crawl, while the other spouse or team members provide covering fire. You should be able to identify what hard cover is (cover from fire, not just view) and also what is ‘dead ground’, which is ground that the enemy cannot see into i.e. folds in the ground and ditches etc. This will allow the protection person to identify areas where they may keep the kids while waiting for a rescue vehicle, or alternatively allow them to crawl out of the killing area in cover while others in the team fire and move. The more vehicles and team members you have in your group, the more potential there is for covering fire from the flanks of the killing area, and the more people available to fire and move and also carry any casualties. The reality of a family or group of families or friends on the move is that there will be a mix of the tactically able, the young and the old and infirm. This article has not been about tactical teams and conducting tactical operations, that is a separate subject: it is about creating a tactical capability within your group where those that are able protect those that are not. This kind of specialization will enhance the survivability of those in your group.

Max Velocity

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Petticoat Prepper says:

    (I’ve been trying to think of a screen name as Debbie isn’t fun….)

    Max Velocity,

    Wow! Printed this for my binder and I’ve added the above book to my want list. I’ve given some thought about moving to my acreage in TEOTWAWKI but never thought beyond legal road blocks. Lots of food for thought here. Using all the cars/truck and family to move them wasn’t something I’d considered but sure am now. My DD has expressed interest in firearms and I took her to the range this week. I guess I’ll keep taking her. Thanks for such a great article!

  2. village idiot says:

    Wow, this is a great article, but way beyond the scope of my capabilites. My retreat is in a heavily wooded, rural area, and if I had to move from there I have no place to go at the present time. Major food for thought.

  3. There are some good thoughts here, Max. Thanks for writing then down for us. I believe that timing is everything in a Bug Out. The longer you wait, the worse I think it will be.

    This is another example of the need for being financially independent. I think many people will wait too long to move out. Additionally, as you said, you need to have a definite destination in mind. Just running will get you in serious trouble.

    Thanks again for the words of advise.

  4. Nice article, it kind of takes me back to my military days and convoy security details. We deployed the same tactics you refer to.

  5. One thing that is near imposible to prepare for is attack from the air . There may be either remnants of the military around ( this could be good or bad ) or the bad guys gaining access to equipment …………all that hardware isn’t just going to sit idle …………SOMEBODY is going to have access to and controle of it . Those that do are going to be able to dominate and ” secure ” an area fairly easily . Again , depending on who that is , it could be good or bad . Headlights from your vehicle are a good point ………….get rid of the halogen ( overly bright blue spectrum ) and swap them out for standard headlights ………… halogens can be seen by those that you dont want to 3 times farther away than normal headlights . There is a very good manual on convoy action that if you dont have it on .pdf , may help quite a bit . If anybody has to do this , or god forbid your family by yourself ……good luck to all . This is where those that have taught every member of their family how to shoot and handle a firearm will pay off . Thank you for this article .

    • Not just military planes, there are thousands of single engine planes and pilots to fly them running around. A couple passenger in a plane with a .308 Semi auto rifle could reak havoc on ground targets.

      • And all the misc . helicopters especially .

        • WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

          I don’t think they will be much threat after the first low fly by Alert. Heavy Small Ground Arms fire or tracers into their gas tanks will make them think twice about trying that again. Ever watch Blackhawk Down..? Just saying.. They may also have IR capabilities, so several strategically placed camp fox holes covered with small camo earth / debris, are a nice back up to mitigate thermal footprint detection when hunkerd down..

    • My $0.02 on headlights – remove all tail light bulbs, brake light bulbs, lane changing bulbs, the glove box bulb and the overhead bulbs. Remove one headlight bulb (or both, depending on scenario) but leave in the brights for emergency use. On the exceptional occaision you need light then use a flashlight.
      If you’re in a two car convoy, second car should run with all lights out, lead car as above w/glow stick duct taped to rear license plate.

      As for air threats, the availability (and irreplacibility) of avgas would really preclude any but specific threat use; if one had to employ the topic of this post I would expect there to not be random overhead flights, and if some unseen force were to employ air assets against you then you were probably deemed too big of a threat to let pass. As for the single engine civilian planes or helis, assuming they did still have the fuel, .308s work both ways – if they can hit you then you can hit them (I’d also reference the troubles many Vietnam-era single engine US observation aircraft experienced from ground fired 7.62×39).

      • WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

        More effective to mount an on / off switch in the dashboard to turn off the tail and brake lights, and a switch to low pointing fog lights for slower travel and keep the main headlights off as well.. Or turn off all the lights, and a passenger could use a cigarette powered spot light out the Rt window for short distance road viewing.

      • Instead of removing the bulbs,I would come up with convoy lighting for the can use tape or paint or cardboard or some kind of plastic.

  6. Tactical G-Ma says:


    Thank you for the article. Even if we need to move about for any reason we must consider how to protect ourselves. I look forward to reading your book.

    God bless and keep up the good work.

  7. Max,

    A great subject to post on.

    Having made group evacuation plans for our own ‘extended family,’ with the various vehicles in place, weather permitting a motorcycle for ‘point’ with an SUV with rear facing seat for that coverage at the rear, and then the primary convoy in between, we also incorporate radio communications. Of course with radios there is the possibility of message interceptions, but changing frequencies and using coded phrases helps alleviate the compromise of OPSEC.

    • TTPs right out of Iraq…

      Brevity codes for both travel & daily ops cannot be broken if you are changing them up randomly…took some CEOIs getting lost in the sand before Comm Officers finally realized that.

      A good article would be on “Approaching Danger Zones.” Again, TTPs developed in hostile environments would be easily adaptable here…might have to slow it down some, but the same principles apply.

      Creeps are going to get wise fast & start trageting innocents for their own pleasure & supply…so best to have your primary & alternate routes pre-recon’d & identify choke points, danger zones, etc.

      Small rural communities are going to be your best bet…creeps will find out what real marksmanship is when they attempt to bully their way in…mark your distances, channelization, kill zones…

      • WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

        Keep in mind, it will always be best to have backup paper maps, especially the entire county you are bugging out to and your entire route, in case you need to make a detour. The problem with GPS is that the Routes they guide you on, one will all funnel into the same route at thousands of other people.. I fear that in a Hurricane evacuation. The other thing if an EMP messes up GPS communications signal, or it is shut down, you will need paper maps for sure. Download Google Terrain Maps as well, for water supply, or trails, etc..

        • Paper maps for sure,I’d be more worried about an EMP knocking out the vehicles too, let alone any GPS.
          If it results t hoofing it, you need to know where water replenishments can be found.

  8. WoW !

  9. I have found a lot of good information about what to do if and when the crash occures. Most of these sites have people relying on stuff. I know stuff is important, but what do you do if the only thing you had was you. How long could you survive without food and water. What is your state of health? Are you relying on Meds to stay alive? To me the important thing to me staying alive in a survival Environment is my health.
    I’m 70 years, don’t take any Meds, Including over-the-counter crap. I do take some nutritional supplements, try to eat right, am not over weight and exercise.
    I do, also have a lot of survival stuff.

  10. Wow Max, what an article… Just hope no one ever has to do any of this. It is something I’ve thought about though. I’d love your professional and military opinion on a few issues…

    +If your unit consists of two parents and two young kids (5&3), would you take both vehicles? A SUV with bicycles hitched on, and a smaller sportier car that’s super fuel efficient. I fear being separated from the DH.

    +BOL is normally two hours drive, on good quality interstate with two lanes of traffic north and south bound each and large median between with ample burm. I’ve also mapped out a route that somewhat shadows the interstate for a time on smaller back roads that of course intersects small towns. I know these choices are highly dependent on the situation, but which would be your first instinct.


    • Nessie:

      Since your BOL travel plans involve an interstate, I’d change your time from hours to days.

      That said, I’d find another route and stay off the freeway. You’ll just be asking for trouble.


      • WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

        I agree, because sure enough, there will be some idiot who throws out a box of roofing nails every mile or so, on the major highways causing backups.. Imagine that chaos? I would consider having 2 spare tires or the “drive on flat” optional spare tires. Also extra gas cans is a good prep… as you may site idle or inch your way out for days.. There will be breakdown and stranded people for sure.. And don’t fall for that Hot Chick in the short skirt thumbing it on the highway, as her heavily armed boyfriends may be waiting in the bushes for the first sucker who stops.. lol Your biggest weaknesses maybe exploited. Don’t be fooled..

    • Nessie,
      Here are some thoughts. You have stated that you do have a BOL so clearly you want/need to get to it. If you did not have a BOL my advice would be to stay in place. The article was mainly aimed at movement after a period of sheltering in place, into an environment without effective rule of law (WROL).
      If you can get the drop on the masses and move before the horde gets on the road, then there is no reason why you can’t just get in the car with your gear and barrel down the interstate. You have to know that it is not gridlocked however. You are also not in a WROL situation at that point so it is more of a normal road move.
      If you didn’t have that crystal ball then I strongly advise not getting out on the interstate. Given that you need to be at your BOL the only way that you are likely to get there is via non-obvious backroads, which you will need to plan for. If the situation really gets gridlocked then you may be better off staying place till it clears, then moving out via convoy. Be prepared under those circumstances to come across civil disorder threats off the back of the gridlock and lack of food/fuel etc.
      I would advise having the two cars, even just to move them to your BOL. This will give you redundancy if you break down on the route or if one becomes inoperable at any point. It also gives you tactical options and the ability to ‘cross deck’ and get out of a situation.
      You may feel mroe comfortable with all the family in one car, and being in two cars really requires a level of tactical training for both spouses. If only one spouse is tactically competent then you may be reduced to one car and your single family packet is really the smallest worst case unit to be moving out on the roads. In the article it talks about going with more numbers if you can, a minumum three vehicle packet etc.
      Given that you only have the family, and that is a reality for many, I would take two cars as described in the article. You both need to be tactically competent. The spouse in the rear vehicle with the kids just needs to be situationally aware and able to operate a weapon in defense. The primary ‘weapon’ is the vehicle to get the kids out of trouble.
      The overall priority in this is the safety of the kids, the parents safety only being important so they can be around longer to protect the kids. Kids are everything! Put the most tactically able spouse up front a tactical bound ahead in the recce car. Move by back roads. If the lead vehicle gets in trouble then hopefully the rear vehicle is not involved. Lead vehicle carries out drills, usually reversing, to get out of it before moving back to rally with the other vehicle and getting out of there.
      If you do find yourself in dense traffic then you will need to cancel the tactical bound and get bumper to bumper, windows up doors locked. The tactical boud is for moving on empty roads so that you are not all in the killing area if you come across any kind of roadblock or ambush.
      There is a lot to this and forgive me if I do refer you to ‘Contact!’ for the full scope of the information, including decison making processes on staying or going and full vehicle movement drills etc.

      • WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

        One Auto Tactic is, when coming to a stop light or stop sign, always leave at least a full vehicle and a half open space distance between you and the car in front of you.. Just in case something happens you can quickly drive out of your lane and take off. If you don’t, you may be cornered and stuck in gridlocked until traffic starts moving again. Start practicing that space tactic every time you drive.. You may avoid a car jacking as well, by using this tactic. Also carry mace as a low disabling tool, if zombie beggars come at your car while at a stop light..

      • Thank you Max thank you! This is exactly the discussion I’ve needed for over a year now. As a civilian, I know the military does it best, and that’s what I need… How to protect my family (foremost the kids) psedo military style. Slightly watered down so even this civilian mom can do it! “Contact” is on my purchase list! Thank you for your kind and ample reply.

        ThunkIt – you know what, I do actually find myself in certain situations leaving a generous space between the car in front. And for that very reason of not wanting to be trapped. My instinct has me doing it pretty randomly, so perhaps it’s time I start implementating regulary. Thanks.

  11. MD – What is with the tiny smiley face in the very bottom left corner? Has it always been there, and I’ve just missed it? ‘Cause I saw the same smiley on another website today… Freaking me out a little!

  12. MountainSurvivor says:

    Taking everything you have said into consideration, I still cannot see staying put in any environment where such an element will be present. Because, once the hoard injures you, you may be affected so badly that you cannot do anything but to stay put and suffer. A broken leg or arm, a deep wound, brain injury, I just cannot see how any injury, small or large, is worth it when heading into the mountains where likeminded individuals would probably provide more benefit. Group mentality, time to prepare a takeover of the lower-lying areas everyone left from, more community-mindedness is likely to be present and there is power in those kinds of numbers. I would still rather not “take my chances and wait for something to happen” because even with all of the guns in the world and best of preparations done, there is the high possibility of being overtaken.

    • Justsomeguy says:

      Mt.Sur… Remember the surveys MD has done on ‘bugging in v. bugging out’ ? I’ll take the former…. this is a fair article on the later. I just kinda feel like the Federalies should sell those surplus MRAPs to anybody that wants one … Make it easy to do either.

  13. Great thought provoking post! My plan is to hunker down for 1-2 years, then move into more fertile growing land. All this is premised on WCS meets vacant farmland. If the experts are right 70-90% die-off would mean vacant lands. All this is premised on good people banding together, doing the right thing, and being able to kill off the thugs. I have 2 plans to make my move running concurrently, one is like you depict, convoy. The other is more nomadic, on foot or bikes or motorcycles. Planning for multiple scenarios is killing my meager savings, but WTH gotta spend it on something. Your post is making my deuce and 1/2 multi-fuel, wood gassifier powered armored vehicle seem more sane than I thought it may be. I need to buy more steel plating. Remember that crazy guy with the armor plated front end loader running thru a town…

    • Remember that guy that stole a tank out of the national guard in california …………..they were helpless until he got himself high centered on a jersey barrier .

  14. MV’y…excellent post…and watched the trailer with DeNiro et al – perfect choice for your article…thanks. Cheers.

  15. If you can of course I prefer to stay in the safety of a well fortified home.

  16. Swabbie Robbie says:

    I think this was a great article. It mainly speaks to me that if I had to relocate my family (small) the best plan is to leave before it gets dangerous. I would rather be just another car on the road with the gas stations still open and the stores still stocked than flee with other desperate people.

    Hurricane Katrina is still vivid in my mind where so many people waited to see if it would be really bad before leaving, or waited for their government to evacuate them. At a certain point it was just too late to leave.

    I would rather seem a bit foolish for bailing out early only to find everything was alright – false alarm than the opposite. I would call that an exercise in bug out planning. Something probably worth trying a few times to figure out what ya missed and needs work.

    Best plan of all is to already be living where you would want to be in hard times, but not everyone can do that, so this article is food for thought on how to do it when all else fails.


  17. Great article Max, thank you.

    Off topic here, does anyone know if mylar bags in plastic containters can be detected with metal detectors, and if there is some way to fool metal detectors?

    • WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

      LOL, Are you planning to fly out with your food preps? No worry the TSA will take everything for themselves.. Look up the manufacturing composition of mylar bags. I don’t think they contain any metals, even though they look shiny like metal.

    • Justsomeguy says:

      You can ‘decoy’ the containers! Take one to a ‘detector’ shop and find out……….. better yet let me go down to the basement and find out meownself… I’ll get back at you later today.

      BTW…. doesn’t every good prepper have a ‘detector’ in their tool list?

      • Thanks for the offer to find out for me, let me know what you find out.

        I agree I should have a metal detector – especially since I live in the Mother Lode country, and own both sides of a creek – maybe I could find enough gold to pay off my property! However, with only one income it is difficult to come up with the money. I am trying to prep for myself, the unknown at the moment Mr. Michele, 4 children and their spouses, 8 grandchildren, and a handful of neighbors – the more I can save, the better of all of us – there is strength in numbers.

  18. Bugging out early and barrelling down the e-way could find you quickly in the middle of an impassible traffic jam, with stopped traffic ahead – and hundreds of cars quickly barrelling up behind you. The world isn’t flat, a four-wheel drive isn’t a cure-all, and you might not always be able to back-up or go around.

    Holding your ground at your primary home and bugging out only if necessary still leaves you having to deal with potentially jammed roads with abandoned vehicles blocking your way. Maybe not just curb-to-curb, but stretching from house/treeline on the left to house/treeline on the right. How many times can you afford to double-back and look for a different route before running out of gas?

    Nothing wrong with bugging out, you might have to, but be prepared to abandon your vehicle(s) if you do. ORV’s, enduro’s, snowmobiles, or even pedal bikes are a good alternate plan if you can’t progress forward in a passenger vehicle. Bring some with you. Much more manuverable, better MPG (well, except for the sleds maybe), but you do have to leave a lot of good stuff behind. Kinda fun now too, and they have other uses when you arrive at your destination.

  19. FYI all……….I remember reading/hearing a while back that a lot of big gang members -Crips, etc.-are joining the military for the training…not much of a problem here, but we all know who has the weaponry in the cities and burbs….they do….just saying…we are far enough(I HOPE)from the worst of the gangs, and those that are seen here (in Duluth)….where we are NOT0 are usually just couriers bring drugs from south and east of here….these are the ones I would worry about if I was in a major metro area….no matter how many vehicles ya have they will/do have automatic weapons….and when TSHTF those who are still in will get more, and worse and go home to join their buds….

    Just sayin


  20. WhoWouldhaveThunkIt says:

    Good Article.. All of this makes you think of so many variables.. as everyone’s situation is different. I feel that if you do not have a location to bug out to and or can be ready to bug out early before the masses… You will put yourself in more danger, than staying put for a while until the chaos settled down…. Have patience…. Utilize your short wave radio for news… The SHTF could be temporary, say weeks or a month… Or until the Government takes control back, like during the L.A Riots.. I would highly advise everyone to have at least 5 to 6 months of food preps, and bottled water on hand, and anything else you may need or use for this full period of time. The unprepared will be the first heading out to riot, loot and get killed. You do not want to be out there especially after the 3rd day through the first month… Just going to a grocery store, as the thieves will be targeting your shopping cart. You may need to go in groups, shop, then as several people will go get the car and pull up to the door by security as you then come out to load the grocery cart food into your vehicle.. Also during an EMP strike, there may be no credit card terminals working, no EBT Food Stamp cards working, and those who are out of food, hungry and disparate will be in Zombie form. Bikes will come in handy, and cars may not even operate… So stay hunkered down, unless you are in some big highrise in a big city, as that may become a death trap. Bugging out and you need to have a quick bug out plan in place along with plenty of cash a head of time. As ATM’s may not be working and banks will be closed also as their systems will be down… SO Hunker down for a while during SHTF and enjoy your preps, and when you are about to run out, then consider bugging out, or restocking food, etc. I think after the first 7-60 days the major thugs will be in jail or already killed and you may have a safer bug out travel situation occur, after that. Just my take / stay safe.

  21. I think that vehicles best suited for movement in chaos are diesel and have of road capability. Diesel because something like 10 million semi tractors with lots of removable diesel will be sitting idle and because there are 30 million houses and farms with fuel oil tanks. Off road because in every catastrophe I have seen, the surface roads are a mess.

    • I kinda agree Chad. You can also retrofit a cummins diesel from a ram pickup and put it into a earlier truck. I have seen it done and it works out great. It is kinda expensive but for some people it would be good.

  22. I know motorcycles don’t carry enough but they are smaller, use less fuel and are more manuverable in tight spaces…..any one watching the series “Falling Skies” will note they use bikes for recon, scouting and “point” ….now I just need to get one (sold the ones we had-need an on/off road type)….will be nice to know who’s coming a LONG way from our town….and there are tons of ATV’s here, and lots of woods with trails leading for many miles in any direction….with walkie-talkies your window of warning is greatly increased….


    • SurvivorDan says:

      As a life long motorcycle rider, I always have one. But I do worry about the vulnerability. Early in my LEO career I turned down an offer to go to motors (despite the chick magnet reputation of motors) because of my misgivings about their vulnerability. Now ATVs (which I also own) have better defensive capabilities as you can have a passenger with weapons at the ready at all times. And You can easily carry heavier weapons than on a trail bike ala “Falling Skies”. Additionally I can operate a weapon and control the ATV far more easily than on a bike.
      Like your ATV suggestion much better. Handheld radios are a plus indeed.

  23. I know that WTSHTF that our kids, etc will be coming here to get out of Duluth and there is no cash to buy the nice tri-plex in the country with 80 acres/40 tillable and 1/4 mile from the main road to the house clear field of fire so we will be hunkering down right here….I will be buying sand bags and railroad ties for bunkers IN the house, mostly around windows and doors and we will make whatever stand we need to here….ain’t the best scenario but we are far from the big cities and way off major highways so we may not get visited….as I said earlier, most people who have been here for many years have weapons-deer rifles, shotguns, etc.-and know how to use them….ammo for them will be a challenge but most have a supply…I have told the boys to stockpile ammo and enough gas for their vehicles to get here….I HOPE they are listening…they all know I am a bit on the cracked side, but oh well………if necessary the wife and I can hold out here for a good while, kids or no kids….


  24. I really enjoyed this article i started to rigjt one kind of like this, but i was using our specific bug out plans. My parents are the closest to our bol. We will head there and wait. If its a false alarm no harm no foul if its the real thing we will have time to load all there supplies before heading out.

  25. Something that has been on my mind regulary, and you touched on it briefly, First Contact. Will it be the begining of a long lasting alliance with future dependable neighbors and trading partners? Or will it be bloodshead and mayhem?
    One last time. When ever you do bug out, if you dont have a firm re-location sitr to go to. Consider going to water instead of going to the hills.

  26. Great post. On the disabled vehicle in the kill zone it seems to me that there are oil that if put on a hot exhaust will make a smoke screen to provide cover for transfer . I’m thinking it was castor oil will . Need to recheck my notes as I haven’t looked at that info in 10 or 12 years.

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