What do people fear when they get lost in rural areas?

I have friends and family members who panic when they miss a turn on road trips. They will go out their way to avoid getting lost, even causing near accidents if they miss an exit. When I ask “why?” I don’t get straight answers. I get answers such as “well, we don’t know what we might get ourselves into” or “we don’t want to come into contact with the wrong type of people”…or my favorite “I don’t want find ourselves in some dueling bangos type of situation!!”.

Most of these folks have cell phones, maps, and gps…so the world won’t end if they get lost. Am I missing something? Or is this just old-fashioned prejudice about the country?



Banjo music.

ETA: G0sp3l beat me to it!

Squirrels. Opossums. Canada Geese.

And God forbid, open space!

No, the OP did.

And yes, it’s old-fashioned prejudice.

I went tubing down the river with a friend in Southern Minnesota this past summer. We were meeting half way and there was road construction on the route I planned to take that I didn’t know about. There were no detour signs just “road closed ahead” signs. I had no internet service and my AT&T bars for phone dropped completely so the google maps app I had been using went quickly defunct. There weren’t any towns and when I got my Tom Tom up and running, it had me going down some dirt roads to get to my destination.

For me, my “fear” was that I would get lost and get my car stuck somewhere and then not know what would be the best route to go for help seeing as it had been a while since I passed a town (and the next town might be just around the grove of trees).


Dammit! Southern Yankee and G0sp3l beat me to it!

I like getting lost in the country…Then again, I grew up in a small town, so maybe it’s a bias only city dwellers have.

I had an ex who hated getting lost in the country because, not being white, he thought people would be prejudiced against him. If I tried to plan road trips or vacations to anywhere south, he would get antsy and try to talk me into going to the city. He was also born and raised in city life, though.

Having to squeal like a pig.

Even if you do have maps,
(1) Some people find it hard to read them,
(2) If the back road that you planned to drive on is closed, it might take an extra 25 miles to get to the town on the other side of the mountain ridge, and
(3) There are never any locals around to ask directions, unless you want to go up to someone’s house to see if anyone’s home.

But I think the big issue is that many people are frightened of unfamiliar places – a fear that gets intensified by news stories about the worst that can go wrong.


I think I’d be much more concerned about getting lost in the wrong part of a city, rather than out in a rural area. Of course, maybe that’s because I grew up on a farm in rural Iowa, and while we had our share of rednecks and weed growers, most of the folks around would certainly go out of their way to help a lost or stranded stranger.

Meanwhile, driving slowly around peering at street signs in some sections of Chicago, or St. Louis, or pretty much any big city seems quite a bit more … sphincter-clenching.

“Roll 'em up!” - Clark Griswold, on a pleasant diversion through East St. Louis.


In the corn.

It’s not prejudice, it’s just fear of being stranded somewhere unknown, possibly in the dark, without knowing where to go for help.

When you’re from a city, you never more than about two yards from another human being. You can stop someone and ask for directions, you’re never far from a gas station, your phone works, you can abandon your car and hop on a bus.

But when you’re in the middle of nowhere, what happens next? This may not be a real fear, but for a city dweller, it is fear of the unknown.

I once hired a car in Cuba and got hideously lost in the middle of God Knows Where. I had a terrible map which just about summed up the Cuban road system on the size an envelope, I saw a gas station about once every 200 miles, I hadn’t passed a town or even a house for about an hour, there were no road signs, it was getting dark and my tank was running low. At one point, the tarmac ran out and I was bumping along a dirt road. I wasn’t scared about being lynched, but I was scared about never being found again!

Pod people.

Buttfucking hillbillies…

Ax/powertool murderers…

Inbred families of cannibals…

Some sort of boogie man (or men)…
And where I grew up, we were also afraid of Melon Heads.

Being the secret ingredient in the next batch of BBQ.

They are afraid of:

  1. Manure on the roads.
  2. Getting stuck behind slow moving farm equipment.
  3. Getting stuck behind slow moving Amish buggies.
  4. Hitting cattle or horses in the road.
  5. Having severe hay fever when the corn is pollinating or when the hay is being mowed.
  6. Having to drive by a field sprayed with liquid manure.