Getting lost while travelling to somewhere new, is one of the most embarrassing things which can happen to those who travel by road. The art of getting back on course is a complicated one. But there are some simple rules which should help demystify this process.
Get a navigator - always take somebody with you to examine the atlas while you are concentrating on driving. Crashing is even worse than being lost. However, if you're really desperate, drive around with a map across your steering wheel, looking flustered and panicked, until the police pull you over. You can then ask them for directions *
Try to find out where you are now - look at an atlas of the general region your are in, and compare it to road signs you see as you drive aimlessly around. Once you know roughly which section of road you are on, and which way along it you are going, you have a chance of finding out where to go next.
Locate your destination - try to locate your destination on the map and head in its general direction. If your destination is not on the map, go straight to the next step.
Check your directions - if you rang your destination before you embarked upon your journey, you should have some scribbled directions. Try to visualize them on the map, to see if you made a mistake somewhere along the way. If necessary, backtrack along the route and try following the directions all over again.
Get a mobile phone - get your navigator to grab the phone and phone your destination. This is, of course, assuming that your destination houses a person with a telephone of which the number is known, and that the person will be able to give you directions. If the destination is a shop, they will most likely be willing to give directions, although these may not be intelligible. Always have the atlas ready, so you can check if their directions make sense.
Stop and think about things - if you and your navigator talk things over, it's amazing how clear the route can become. If you've called for directions, talk these through as well, so that you both know where you're going.
Make sure you know how to get home again - try to work out how to get back to a main road, and which direction to head for in order to go home. Getting lost on your way back from somewhere new is even worse than getting lost on your way to somewhere new; because you don't have any excuse for it whatsoever.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Before you set out, make sure that you have:
An atlas covering the entire route between your starting point and your destination.
Directions to your destination.
A mobile phone, a phone card or some change so that you can phone for more directions.
The telephone number of your destination.
Some liquid refreshment.
Some petrol money.