The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

Are Highway Rest Stops SHTF Safe?

John J. Woods
Magnolia Outdoor Communications

ARE HIGHWAY REST STOPS SHTF SAFE?

On a recent extended highway trip on different interstate highways I opted to stop at several official state welcome centers or rest stops. I watched the array of people leaving their parked cars to avail themselves of the relief station, just to stretch a bit, exercise a pet, or grab a drink or nab.

Welcome centers are good stops to find local information, highway maps, housing availability, camping area info, restaurants, services, weather updates, notices of storms or unrest action news and such. But during a SHTF, would they be safe areas to stop or hold out for a while, maybe overnight?

Surveying the flow of people from the parking lots to the rest area facilities, certainly they looked like me, everyday people taking a short rest or break. The same could be said of people at the mall or a grocery store. How do we know who is who? Also the rest areas are popular stops for over-the-road drivers. They are from everywhere, going who knows where. Again, there is no way to know anything about them either, trustworthy or not.

Keep in mind that such rest areas are public venues, and open all the time, 24 hours a day. Some may have security personnel on hand, but I would not rely upon them to protect me or save my life. Also remember that all of these types of areas I have ever been into have one entry point and one exit point for vehicles to come and go. This could be an issue if you have to execute a speedy departure or escape.

As with any other captive area, your best bet is to proceed slowly, maintain a keen observation of the area and those coming and going. Park back from the easiest, up front parking spaces to maintain safe space. If you are alone, then proceed with caution. If other people are in the car, leave at least one person behind to watch the vehicle and its contents.

If you have a concealed gun permit or not, take your gun with you, though obviously keep it concealed. A low or no print weapon would be best so that it does not draw attention. Do your business quickly, watching around you, and then proceed back to your vehicle. If you stop to put money in a vending machine, then always watch your back.

A rest area might be safe enough for a short nap or overnight if somebody remains at guard. I would not tarry there any longer than necessary. During any SHTF it is best to move along and make planned stops short ones.

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