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Road Noise: The Brains of the Operation

  • October 31, 2008
  • Road Noise
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If you’re reading this, then things have unfolded as I had feared and the zombie hordes have arisen. Even now, they could be shambling toward the gates of VehicleVoice World Internet Headquarters and House of Mystery. Of course, I am long gone, having fled to my ammo-packed wilderness compound and left this blog entry to be posted by my more dedicated, less survival-minded coworkers. They are no doubt fodder for the filthy undead, but there may still be hope for you. Read on if you value your life.

Oh crap.

First of all, congratulations on surviving this long. I assume you have secured your surroundings and are keeping your copy of Max Brooks’ indispensable Zombie Survival Guide handy. It would be tragic if you were to be so consumed in your quest for life-saving information only to be caught unawares and be consumed by the undead menace. Quickly, check your perimeter, then meet me back here.
Safe? Good. By now it has occurred to you that you will need to reach a more secure, defensible position in order to survive until the crisis has passed and the remaining population can band together to destroy the reanimated corpses of their loved ones and build a new civilization. As you have certainly seen in the previous hours, your current location in a suburb or office park, with its closed vistas, tightly-packed population and many boundaries is a recipe for a quick death and an endless, hungry unlife.

“Cul-de-sac” is an old French term meaning “no way out, meatbag.”

You will need a vehicle to aid your in your flight. Mr. Brooks’ otherwise excellent guide advises against motorized transportation in situations such as the one in which we find ourselves today – there are obvious drawbacks in terms of fuel, breakdowns, flat tires and the possibility of engine noise attracting a mob of rotting, mindless predators – but worldwide cataclysm or no, this is still a car blog. You want to talk bicycles, spend your remaining moments of life on some other website, bub.
Now, let’s pick your escape vehicle. We’ll be considering size, adaptability, availability and the X-factor of overall awesomeness in our decision; studies in past outbreaks have shown that zombies are weak against awesomesauce. (Don’t give me that look! This is hard science!)
Sedans are likely to be the most easily available vehicle, and older models will be among the easiest vehicles to hotwire and service if necessary. However, the roads are likely to be blocked by abandoned vehicles, amateur barricades and endless crowds of zombies, and most sedans will take major damage upon attempting to power through even a few obstacles.
That said, I recommend acquiring a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 if it’s at all possible. This fine piece of rolling iron saved Bruce Campbell more than once in the excellent documentary films Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, and may just save you, too.
Be sure your Classic has the proper complement of wheels before undertaking your escape.

Sport Utility Vehicles
Likely your first thought was to hop in the family SUV and get the hell out of Dodge. Slow down, buckaroo, and consider your other options. As countless traffic accidents have shown, SUVs are prone to rollovers, and the pressure from as few as seven walking corpses slavering against the windows at your ripe, juicy brains may tip the vehicle and leave you helpless. Additionally, despite what the commercials tell you, many SUVs have subpar off-road performance – think carefully about whether your vehicle is better suited to gliding down the parkway to your local Starbucks or to bouncing across the charred rubble that used to be the Starbucks.
If you must choose an SUV, try something with a history of proven service in harsh conditions, such as a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Jeep Wrangler (No soft-tops!) or Land Rover.
What about my Hummer? I can hear you cry over the moans of the ravenous revenants coming up your driveway. What about it? The domesticated version in your garage is no better than any other overgrown station wagon, and the National Guard has already rolled the military-grade Humvees away from the armory in a vain attempt to quell the uprising. The sales pitch was doubtless convincing, but we’re dealing in matters of life-or-death practicality now.
Only if you’re very, very lucky.

Here’s where things get interesting. If you have the proper training, imagination and experience playing Grand Theft Auto, a whole world of options opens up to you. Mr. Brooks suggests an armored car as an excellent choice, but armored fleets will have been requisitioned by their drivers, most of whom carry guns. Only a fool is felled by his fellow man while running from the greater undead threat, so steer clear.
Buses are difficult to drive, and their large amounts of glass, slow pickup, high profile and loud engines make them even more impractical. A tractor-trailer is a better option. Though there’s still a learning curve involved in its operation, it has fewer windows, and the distance from the cab to the ground makes it more defensible. Unhook the trailer, and you and your traveling companion can make a good start, with one driving and one felling zombies until the vehicle picks up enough speed. However, with the trailer gone, your supplies will be limited, and the noise from the engine and air brakes will attract the undead for miles around.
Here’s my pick:
Alley shot of ambulance.jpg

It’s a heavy, high-horsepower vehicle with limited glass, plenty of room in back and the bonus of medical supplies installed. It may be difficult to find – early in the outbreak, emergency crews were no doubt dispatched across the city in the hopes that some could be saved – but it should get you at least part of the way toward your refuge.
This piece grows long, and our time grows short. My calculations indicate that the power grid cannot hold up unattended much longer. Go now, while your wits are still sharp and their numbers are still relatively low. Godspeed, and I’ll see you in Hell.

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