Like many drivers perhaps you rely on your local knowledge, your SatNav, or your mobile phone to help you navigate the UK’s highways and byways. On a normal day, with everything working perfectly, this is all fine. But throw in problems with your SatNav signal, mobile phone network and some bad traffic, and it’s time for some stress. Add to that some kind of emergency or disaster and a problem becomes a nightmare. Without your phone or SatNav working, and especially in unfamiliar areas, questions about what alternative routes you could take to avoid major delays are impossible to answer, and you might not feel comfortable or think it wise in all situations and places to ask strangers for directions.
One easy step we can take, to reduce stress and overcome some of the consquences of tech failure, especially in emergencies or disasters, is to keep an up-to-date road map of your area, or road atlas, in your car at all times. If you replace it with a new one every year or two, it will never be too far out of date. Having a map to hand gives you the option of finding alternative routes to avoid delays, or to travel to locations you are unfamiliar with, when you lack your usual electronic helps.
Far less likely, though still possible, will be the need to avoid or escape a major disaster. Last time we looked at some real life examples from the UK, of people being evacuated from their homes because of major fires in their area. Disasters on a larger scale can happen, and it is good to be prepared for these eventualities also. We recommend you have, in advance, somewhere to go in case of this type of emergency. Perhaps you can stay with a family member, a friend, or if you’re lucky a second property, in another area.
Once you know where you can go the challenge becomes getting there. Disasters, depending on what they are, can result in closed roads or major traffic jams as lots of people do what you are doing – leave. Having a map in such a situation is essential, given the possibility that the kind of disaster requiring you to leave might also interfere with mobile networks. You might not be able to rely on SatNav re-routing either. We recommend you plan in advance and mark several alternative routes to your emergency destination so there is no delay to your departure. Expect the unexpected, and be ready to change your plans if you have to – if you have a map you will be able to. Of course, make sure you also have enough fuel, knowing where you’re going and the route to take is no use if you can’t make the journey.
Taking this simple precaution can take a lot of stress out of emergency or pressured situations. Why take the chance when the solution is so simple?