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Car pile up
This page concerns the issue of transportation during this apocalyptic scenario. More specificaly it will focus on a variety of issues related to transportation. For example: Which type of vehicles are the most effective in a "zombie" apocalypse. What road conditions will be like. How to siphon gasoline from a car. How to prolongue the life of the gasoline you have managed to gather. What will happen when the gasoline runs out. These topics and many more will be addressed on this page. This article will be written from the joint perspective of a historian documenting events as they unfolded years ago during the time of the pandemic. As well as from the perspective of a survival manual author.

Immediate OutbreakEdit

When the Ferals first began to swarm forth from cities all over the world in 2015, people panicked. They gathered up all they could and piled it into their cars along with their families as they tried desperately to flee the cities and suburbs where they had only moments ago, lived their entire lives. Traffic laws broke down rapidly as people stopped caring about speed limits and lanes. It became a series of free for all races out of the cities. The authorities tried to maintain control. Between the Feral attacks and the reckless and dangerous driving of the surviving humans, they were quickly overwhelmed and gave up and joined in the mass abandonment. Inevitably, traffic accidents occurred en mass.

All it took was one car losing control and crashing into another vehicle, which resulted in many large pileups. Some pileups blocked off streets entirely, forcing people to either drive off road around the accidents, abandon their cars and travel on foot, or if they had a large vehicle like an SUV, bus or truck, then they would just drive through the wrecks pushing them to the sides of the road. Highways were the worst; one accident and soon the entire highway became impossible to transverse. They became long stretches of wreckage, bodies and twisted metal.

Of the small percentage of people that made it out of the cities during the initial outbreak, not many were in very good shape to survive. A large number of people brought with them more family heirlooms and items of sentimental value, than food, water, weapons and survival tools. Roads were not the only things being flooded with fleeing people. Waterfront marinas were packed with people trying to get to safety and unfortunately, suffered many of the same problems as the people fleeing by car. Lack of organization, people casting off every which way and collisions, created shipwrecks that formed further hazards for those trying to escape.

Airports were flooded with people. They were among the first infrastructure elements to fall as many infected people headed there before they knew they were infected. In the tightly packed conditions of the airport it soon became a blood bath. The lucky few that owned private jets, and rogue pilots who commandeered planes for themselves, had some success getting in the air and away from danger. They soon found themselves struggling to find a safe place to land. The lack of air traffic controllers, debris-ridden runways and not enough fuel to make it over seas, due to a lack of preparation/time, resulted in risky situations.

Soon after the outbreak, people became very untrusting of other people. There were gunpoint robberies, and in some cases people were murdered for their cars, trucks boats and supplies they may have had. It became inadvisable to stop near people or to travel alone or unarmed.

The vehicles that had the most success escaping the cites were for the most part, larger vehicles, especially those capable of travelling off road like, Hummers, SUVs, Jeeps, pickup trucks and the Subaru Outback’. This is not to say that no smaller vehicles made it out, or that there are no advantages to the smaller vehicles. Plenty of normal sized cars escaped the cities as well, just not as many as compared to the larger vehicles. Smart cars for example had the added benefit of being rather quiet cars as well as being able to duck and weave through small openings in heavily congested roads. There down side is that they do not have a lot of room for storing and transporting supplies, and they can be easily overturned by a pack of hungry ferals.

Vehicles like buses, RV’s, fire trucks and big rig trucks also had fairly good odds of success in escaping the cities as long as they managed to maintain some momentum and streets were not completely blocked off with cars. They could be loaded up with groups of survivors and still have ample room for supplies and weapons. They also provide shelter from the elements and ferals a bit better than cars and trucks do as they are built bigger and sturdier and are harder to be broken into. They are also more capable of pushing aside debris that is blocking roads. As an added bonus, these vehicles can run down ferals without much risk of sustaining any serious damage to the vehicle.

Short TermEdit

After a few weeks, most survivors banded together into small groups of between 5 and 20 people. They either lived in their vehicles, driving into towns gathering supplies then driving out or they would find a relatively safe place and secure and fortify it like a stronghold. The fortified buildings became the foundations of future settlements. These buildings were anything from abandoned schools, fire stations to existing homes. Records show that one group from Scotland fortified an old castle which eventually turned into a thriving city-state.

Regardless of which method was chosen, both ways required having multiple vehicles. If a group’s primary vehicle were a camper or an RV, they would want to have more than just that available for their use. Have you ever tried having 10 people sleeping in the same camper; it is a cramped and uncomfortable experience. If you only have one vehicle around and it breaks down, you’re in bad shape, as now you are exposed and stranded. Ideally, if your group can manage to obtain a small armada of vehicles you are more likely to be successful in your survival.

A large vehicle with a high transport capacity is optimal due to its ability to get all of your people out quickly, as well as for transporting large amounts of goods and supplies. You will also want 2-6 general-purpose vehicles. These will probably end up being what ever your group members first met up with you in or whatever you found the keys to in some parking lots or on the side of the road. These will be used for moving your group around in a safer less desperate fashion, where all your eggs are not in one basket. Meaning, for example, if your only vehicle flips over with everyone in it and you have no other vehicles handy then you are out of luck, stranded and probably a few of you are injured. With multiple cars around other members can pick up the stranded people from the wrecked vehicle. Finally, you will want a smaller more maneuverable vehicle that can navigate through congested streets more easily. Motorcycles, Smart cars, ATV’s and other small vehicles of the sort are great for this as they are able to scout ahead to determine whether or not it is worth clearing away a wreck to get to what is up ahead, or to survey the area for places you have yet to scavenge or to scout out possible threats.

Roads were not yet completely cleared, as that would do more harm than good at this stage, as many large bandit groups were still at large, not to mention the packs of ferals roaming around and a clear road was like an invitation for them to attack you. That eventually changed as survivor groups began to get increasingly capable of defending themselves and even mounting counter attacks.

Those living in areas that have very harsh winters made great use of snowmobiles and dog sleds. Those living in very hot dry desert regions lived on as they had. They wandered as nomads, their way of life relatively untouched by the Ferals. Many tropical areas continued to use rivers to transport goods and people up and down in various rafts and riverboats and canoes.

MidtermEdit

After 5 to 10 years from the onset of the outbreak, people for the most part, have found a place to call home. By now group sizes have increased as smaller groups merge together or groups continue to pick up stragglers, if they have the resources to be able to afford additional people. These communities tend to have more than just one or two buildings, they tend to now look like small cites. They tend to have a several city blocks, university campus, a prison or some other moderately secure and safe area comprising of multiple buildings that could be locked down. By this point, gasoline is becoming very scarce. Teams would go out with the sole purpose of siphoning as much gas as they could bring back. Now remember gas does have an expiration date. There are products that can prolong its lifespan and if stored properly, it will last even longer. Ultimately though, gas will go sour and become thick and gooey. Sta-Bil is one such product that can counter this as is can increase gasoline’s lifespan. Also storing the gas in an airtight container with only a very small air pocket will keep gas functioning properly for a lot longer than if it is left exposed to the air.

Siphoning gas is not a terribly difficult or dangerous task if done correctly, nor does it require a great number of tools and equipment. What is needed is a hose, ideally a clear one, but any basic garden hose should work as long as it is not too thick to fit inside the gas tank. A container to hold the soon to be collected gasoline, preferably a container actually designed to hold gas, but if one is not found then just try to avoid a thin plastic container and try to go for something metal, like a watering can or bucket with a lid. The final and most important piece of equipment is a pair of functioning human lungs.

Step One: Open the exterior flap over the gas tank on the side of the car. Using something like a pen or a chopstick, peel back the little plastic flap inside the opening of the gas tank. You could use a metal object to do this but that would run the risk of causing a spark resulting in an explosion. It is unlikely, but possible. Insert the hose into the gas tank and make sure it is near the bottom of the gas tank.

Step Two: This is the most dangerous part. Put your gas can down on the ground lower than the gas tank of the car. Now put the hose in your mouth and begin to suck the gas out of the tank. This is where having a clear hose comes in handy as you will be able to see the gas coming towards your mouth. Even if you do not have a clear hose you can usually sense the hose being filled with gas and it getting closer to your mouth. Now if you get gas in your mouth don’t panic. Resist the urge to swallow it and spit it out immediately then rinse out your mouth with water and you should be fine.

Step Three: Now that the gas is near the end of your hose, place the end of the hose into the gas-receiving vessel and again, it must be lower than the gas tank of the car. The gas should flow pretty steadily. Make sure the other end of the hose stays below the gas. If air gets in it will mess up the siphoning plans and you will have to start over. Once your container is full pull out the hose clean up and move on. There you have it, that’s not so hard. It might take a few tries to do it correctly. Doing this a couple buddies keeps the group safer from bandits and ferals.

Communities also invested in alternate means of transportation as they gathered up bicycles. Bicycles are very energy efficient, rather quiet vehicles and do not require gas. Some communities that were able to get horses, before the ferals hunted and ate, were very lucky, as horses are also a great means of transportation. They are for the most part quieter than cars and also do not require gasoline to function, although they do require food. Also if you get desperate enough you can eat a horse. Methods of transportation like bicycles and horses are viable now because many fearals have died off from starvation and disease as they exhausted the food supply in their areas and resorted to eating each other. Although there is less worry about a Feral attacking, there are still other humans to look out for.

Many vehicles began to break down at this point, as they were no longer being properly maintained. This forced people to hunt down hard to find mechanical parts and became another item on the list for salvage parties to keep an eye out for. If your vehicle did break down irreparably, it could at least be scrapped for spare. Keep in mind most military depots had been raided by now, so it was not terribly unlikely to see people driving around in Humvees and tanks, although it took many sessions of trial and error before a crew of preople managed to sucessfully operate a tank effectively.

Teams of people have now been asigned to clear the roads in many communities to ease the work of scavenging parties who work outside the safety of the community. If by chance there is anything usable left in the cars, it would be taken. Then the cars would either be tow away, if they have a towtruck, or pushed off to the side. This was the first step to reigniting trade with other communities on a larger scale.

Long TermEdit

Many years after the initial out break, lines have been drawn and territory claimed. What were once small communities have grown to become city-states, countries, nations and empires all governed in a large variety of different ways. Inevitably, some are wealthier and better governed than others. A lot of blood has been shed and many feel it is a time for mankind to be reunited and stand together. This is the point where communities have either restarted industry in their area or have forsaken it and reverted back to transportation modes that existed prior to the 1800’s with means of transportation like wooden ships, horses, and stagecoaches.

Trade routes have been firmly established between communities and blockades have been created on routes leading to aggressive hostile communities. This was made possible by the road clearing teams. Some places even managed to fix the trains and railroads and began the transportation of goods and people via steam engine. Unfortunately, airplanes and helicopters are very rare as they quickly fell into disrepair without regular maintenance. They are still some around, but their pilots are old and the resource cost to get them to fly is high. Crossing oceans takes much longer as boats became the primary method of doing so. Exploration teams were sent across oceans to investigate the status of other countries. It was always interesting to hear of countries that went by entirely new names and were ruled in a very unique ways.

Animal husbandry made a huge comeback as a viable career choice. With gasoline running dry and cars breaking down in many places, breeding horses became extremely necessary for transportation.

Roads were being repaired as best they could. Occasionally a paving machine redid the roads. New dirt roads also sprang up.

Different communities within various nations and countries also had a number of smaller towns and communities under their protection/control. These towns tended to be more specialized and had certain roles within the new emerging empires, nation and countries. They needed good roads or railways to be able to send and receive goods. A community that focuses almost exclusively on making ammunition needs to be supplied food from the other communities, as they grew very little of their own. All of this was most often managed from the “Capital City” which tended to be the largest most powerful city that united conquered all the smaller communities.

The most successful city state, recorded to date, has evolved into a "Steam Punk" like society. They have invented blimps and airships as well as hot air balloons to suit their transportation needs. Cars have been converted to work off steam power and the environment has improved as a result. This came about as a desperate last attempt at speedy transportation after the city state ran out of gasoline. They guard this technology obsessively and no other city states have yet to recreate successfully the end results. 

Into the FutureEdit

Will we ever re-attain the miracle of fast intercontinental flight? Will we ever travel into space once more? Will humans colonize new planets or travel beyond the solar system? Will we succeed in restarting industry and once again have factories spitting out goods by the thousands? Will we end up being able to adapt to lost energy resources and take advantage of new sources? Only time will tell as mankind looks to the future with uncertainty, yet still with hope.

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