With the extra traveling I do for my job now, I needed do more route planning since my sales calls take me through two major cities and across a bridge every day. On top of the traffic, the possible unrest and demonstrations in the cities I cross makes knowing where to go and when to just stop and wait things out important. (I'm writing this well before the polls close in the East and Midwest and I personally believe there could be big problems if one candidate wins, but there could be problems no matter who is the winner.)
Have a Plan
I'm luckier than some of my co-workers in that I grew up here and know the freeway system well. What I don't know as well as I'd like are the surface streets and secondary routes through the areas where I work. Since I'm calling on a Big Box home improvement chain, the stores are usually located in the industrial areas of cities and sometimes well off the freeway. The neighborhoods that surround these stores are 'working class' at best. I generally know what areas to avoid but not what is the fastest way or shortest route to get me back on the road home.
I have a working radio in my truck and the two all-news stations are already programmed. My smart phone has a map app that is very good with real time traffic overlays available. I don't need a paper map, but I have the four needed to plot the way home if everything else fails. If the worst happens while I'm at work (earthquake or riots), I have enough friends to put me up. If there are problems after I leave, I may not have the luxury of getting off the freeway safely or at all.
This is where the extra planning will pay off.
Work The Plan
When I haven't been too tired I've been driving some of the "second choice" streets the map program gives me. Several of the routes have already been eliminated due to having too many lights, being roads everyone else will try to take, or having me drive through areas even more marginal than where I work.
I try to keep in mind something a pilot friend told me years ago: "Don't let your ego get you in trouble. If you know there is weather in front of you, don't expect to get lucky and find a way through or around a storm." His advice to suck it up and turn around is what I've been trying one or two days a week by looking for a way to get off the freeway and back to a safe harbor or another, safer route home. The one and only benefit of a demonstration blocking a freeway is the fact that the demonstrators have to start walking to the freeway. These have all been newsworthy events, so this gives me and anyone listening to news a heads-up and a chance to get out of the way.
So far (late Tuesday and Wednesday), I have missed the demonstrations that burned trash and broke windows in Oakland and injured a woman blocking a freeway. I can safely get home (once over various bridges) since I'm familiar with these cities. The big problem is still getting to these bridges.
I mentioned in this post the additional supplies in my GHB, and now I've added a wide-mouth container to the mix in case I can't get to a toilet. I do not expect to be caught in a blockade or stuck for long periods of time in my truck, but I have to be prepared.
Several people have mentioned YouTube videos showing how to get through a blocked street. No, I'm not linking them; they are easy enough to find so you don't need my help.
The important points seem to be:
- Keep moving slowly and do not stop!
- If blocked in, do not exit your vehicle.
- If attacked, use the minimum amount of force to protect yourself and anyone else in your vehicle. All states recognize your right to defend yourself from attack.
- If going to the same areas regularly, plan your route. Have a second, third or even a fourth way home.
- Try out alternate streets and highways before you need them.
- Don't be surprised if things don't work out. Plan for the worst but expect the best, that way you are never disappointed.
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NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.