Somewhere in the back of my mind is the question, “Will we ever have to evacuate our home?” Natural disasters, severe weather, and civic unrest are just some of the things that could cause our home to no longer be a safe place. An emergency preparedness checklist is important, but a simple road map might make the difference between a quick and safe evacuation and getting caught in a nightmare traffic jam.
One very simple item to always have stashed away in your vehicle is a road map of your state and maps for each adjoining state. GPS systems are all fine and good, but I’ve noticed that when I rely on mine too much, I don’t have a good bearing on where I am or how I got there.
“Prepare to turn left in a quarter mile.”
“Make the next legal u-turn.”
How can the little tiny woman inside my GPS know what the weather conditions are like or whether or not my kids are screaming, and I’m in desperate need of strong drink? An emergency evacuation is stressful enough without having the GPS lady nagging at me!
(Here’s a quick aside. The first time I ever bought my daughter a Happy Meal, she was having a complete meltdown. I handed the meal to her and moments later heard her voice from the back seat, “THIS IS NOT MAKING ME HAPPY!!”)
When I have a map in my hands, I feel more in control of my situation. I can look for alternate routes, rest areas, and the next town with a McDonald’s. If a major evacuation should ever force us to travel into the next state, I have maps of California, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico handy in my Tahoe’s glove compartment. At about five bucks each, it’s a small price to pay for some peace of mind.
I love technology as much as the next person, but be sure you don’t lose your navigation skills with an actual map because you’ve relied on a GPS for too long! Also, make sure your kids know how to use a map. There may come a time when they’re the ones doing the navigating, and you want to make sure you’re in good hands!