April 16, 2020

A basic sense of direction is the most fundamental skill to cultivate for anyone looking to navigate without the help of digital accessories, and provides an excellent fall-back solution for when primary navigation systems fail.

A driver should always know generally which direction they intend to travel, and be able to confirm they are traveling roughly that direction throughout the duration of their trip.

This can be accomplished by utilizing basic land nav and orienteering skills and tracking the position of the sun, knowing that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and gauging the sun's position in the morning and afternoon. During mid-day travel, the sun will typically be in the southern shy if you're in the northern hemisphere, and in the northern sky if you're in the southern hemisphere. This is a rough guide, please check the seasons and your particular location for more complete information.

Additionally, it is the driver's responsibility to have a fundamental understanding of the highway system for the region you will be traveling. Here in the US, our primary roads are designated with even numbers when they are horizontal east-west routes, and odd numbers when they are vertical north-south routes. Additionally, mile markers along those routes ascend as you travel north and east, and descend as you travel south and west. This allows travelers to know what direction they are headed any time of the day and in any weather.

If you do find yourself lost on a remote road or off road, generally the best plan is to continue taking turns onto any larger and more-traveled roads. Even if these roads head generally in the wrong direction, if your primary goal is to re-orient yourself, that can most easily be accomplished by finding a main road and navigating again from there. These skills are typically used for overland travel and expeditious driving, but can and should be employed at all times until they are second nature.