We all know it’s a nightmare. Glenn Reynolds has a very interesting email from a reader all about their road trip out.
“As someone who recently evacuated from Houston, I can tell you the hysteria and overwhelming rush to get out was too much for the transportation infrastructure. …When we left at 4:20 a.m. yesterday morning we knew things would be bad as far as traffic….we decided to use my new Microsoft GPS software and hardware and hit the back roads. Almost exactly 12 hours later, we arrived… in Dallas…. “
Other points the reader makes:
We need more roads, the evacuation routes simply are already overtaxed on regular days in many of these large cities.
The media fest is making things worse, scaring people and crowding the roads with people who do not live in flood areas at all and are not under mandatory evacuation.
A huge problem- petty small minded officials who think in small minded ways:
As Glenn’s reader explains:
“Back to my Microsoft program, this allowed me to route a plan on back roads, thus relieving pressure on I-10 and I-45. We headed Northeast on the Beltway, hit I-10 toward Beaumont. By 10:30 a.m., we had not even gotten 1/2 way there (an hour drive on a regular day), so I decided to take the first open exit and head North. EVERY gas station on I-10 was out yesterday morning by 9:00 a.m., but miraculously, the stations 15 miles off the freeway had gas–must be something about supply and demand. We headed North & East–away from the mass of Houston/Galveston evacuees–for some time, until we hit a Texas Dept. of Public Safety roadblock on a Northbound road. The DPS officer simply said the “road is closed” without explanation, and told us to head BACK to Beaumont and join the parking lot/freeway. I asked him why the road was closed (locals could still use it) and that it made no sense to head back and add to the problem (I was 30 miles North of I-10) at this point, but he said he was just “told” the clear road due north was closed. I explained that he was in essence risking my family’s life, since stuck on the road with a 20+ foot flood surge, would be suicide. He didn’t care and when I said it was idiotic to shut down good roads to force people onto a jammed evacuation routes, he said what was idiotic was to have to talk with people like me. I can count the number of people I’ve hated in my life on 1 hand and he’s one–stupid, inflexible and unwilling to do SOMETHING (call, just move aside to let people go, etc.) to help take people to safety. My wife tried to keep me calm, and I decided to use the GPS to find an alternate route. We went east 1.5 miles, headed northwest on a dirt road (luckily on the GPS program!) and then hit the “closed” road with no problems about 1 mile north of the idiot DPS officer. No breaking the law, no roadblock at that point, and I was on my way North again.
The sad thing is that the back roads North were almost entirely deserted. Only when we hit the “official” evacuation route would we hit miles-long gridlock, which we quickly used the GPS program to get off and go through the small towns of East Texas. We found gas, food and incredibly nice people in all these small towns, and made it to Dallas (eventually coming in I-20 from the East) yesterday afternoon. When we arrived my wife said the program paid for itself and then some. I am no Bill Gates fan but I must say it was a life saver and stress reliever.”
The emphasis added above is my own. So add a GPS program to your emergency supplies. Not cheap, but in this case, think of the gas money and time this family saved.
Do you wonder how many of those cars stuck on the major arteries having a GPS that their owners have forgotten they have? So do I.
“It’s useful to have the right stuff handy, but you also need the right knowledge, and mindset. That doesn’t come from a catalog.”