by Alain Hoffmann
Towns and Villages
They are always critical to drive through. The smaller the village the more likely it will be that you get noticed. Take into account that there might be a slow participant in front who pulls an rats tail of dirty 4x4's behind him- not an sight to pass unnoticed.
Around all settlements make your drawings as precise as possible. Try to include in every box an remarkable item if there is. This may be an church, an pub, an phone cell or an indication sign. But limit yourself to one or two items. People pass here with normal speed. Having them searching for the correct road already slows them. If they look for 2 items on a well travelled road they will be an annoyance to other road users - and the local police.
In towns and villages you must not note every single small road as you would in the countryside. Limit yourself to strategically important situations like main crossings or roundabouts. In general I instruct people to stay on the main road for the distance indicated. So you may well pass several villages on my roadbooks without them even showing up on the boxes. This works surprisingly well.
To help those poor Series drivers already mentioned I often draw the village signs in boxes. This also helps if someone looses his bearings completely. Then in most cases they look for an village name on the roadbook and drive there. In most cases they manage to find the track then.
Some places to avoid in towns:
The centre (obviously) as there will be so many crossings people loose their bearing quickly.
Schools: Also obvious but you can make exceptions on Sundays.
Residential areas: Mud falling off your cars will not make people happy
The local police station.
Surprisingly few problems arise from single farms. I mean those far away from the next village. If I intend to pass nearby I take care to visit the farmer already on the reconnaissance. Talking to these people did never do any harm. I ask them if they object to the passing on vehicles close to her home even if I know it's a public path. I never found really unfriendly people. In fact I even got hints and indications on where to drive. Also I never omit to leave a contact phone number in case they change their mind. Works wonders even if someone damages private property.