Humans are social species. We tend to seek safety in numbers, and we need regular social interaction for our own health and well-being. However, when the brown stuff really hits the fan, all bets are off. Neighbors can turn on each other when forced to fight over limited resources. When SHTF, there’s no telling how the average person will react. People will become desperate when their survival is on the line, and anyone you meet can easily become a possible threat. When society collapses, all semblance of normal convention gets thrown out of the window. In these situations, the only person you might be able to trust is yourself. If you’re lucky, you might have some of your trusted family members by your side. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe during a large-scale disaster, you need to stay clear of these potentially dangerous areas until some sense of order and normalcy is restored. (h/t to PreppersWill.com)
You can bet that in a survival scenario, hospitals will be bursting with an influx of patients seeking medical attention. If there are any doctors or nurses still left in the hospital, they will likely be understaffed and their resources will be stretched to their limit. Not everyone will be able to get the medical aid they require and patients will inevitably start dying. As you can imagine, having plenty of sick and dying people all closely packed together can make hospitals a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria. That should be more than enough reason to dissuade you from heading to a hospital in the middle of a societal collapse, but in case that isn’t enough, consider all the dangerous and desperate people who might have ideas of raiding hospitals to get their hands on potentially life-saving medical supplies.
You definitely want to avoid large crowds in a survival situation. The larger the crowd, the greater the possibility of panic and mass hysteria. FEMA camps are among the top places that most regular non-preppers will likely flock to. You can imagine what kind of recipe for disaster that could lead to. Fierce and savage competition for limited resources will be rampant. If you are a true prepper, you will do well to avoid FEMA camps like the plague. Chances are you probably already have a bug-out bag full of food and medical supplies. Something like that is definitely going to attract a lot of unwanted attention the moment you set foot inside a FEMA camp. (Related: A guide to staying safe in case all Hell breaks loose in America.)
It would be wise to stay clear of any major highways, intersections, bridges, or other forms of transport infrastructure. Blocked or damaged roads can easily leave hundreds of vehicles stuck in a gridlock. All those people will eventually grow desperate as hunger, thirst, and other physiological needs take hold of them. If you truly need to get anywhere, find alternate routes and take other roads less traveled. When modern transport networks are paralyzed, sometimes the longer, more roundabout path can get you to your destination faster than the most straightforward of major roadways.
Large shopping malls and stores
Any place that is stocked with food and other supplies will likely be among the first locations to be looted. Supermarkets, food warehouses, and local grocery stores are all on that list. Gas stations and auto part shops will also likely be raided for gasoline and other useful supplies. Additionally, hardware and sporting goods stores make prime targets for people looking to get their hands on tools, weapons, and ammo.