With hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, many communities may be warned to evacuate. As with any natural disaster type storm whether it be a hurricane, tornado or flood, you’ll need to make sure your car is ready to go.
It’s best to pack a storm prep-kit of disaster essentials and any list should start with this one from the Red Cross.
But when it’s time to hit the road you should keep these three tips (courtesy of the Wall Street Journal) in mind when driving through a storm.
Find shelter: Hurricane-force winds can make vehicles hard to control and even tip them over. So if you are driving in a storm and find yourself struggling to keep control of the car, you should look for shelter. Experts say you are generally safer in a building than in your car, but in a pinch your car still makes a decent bunker. If possible, get off the road and look for cover under a bridge overpass or in a parking garage.
Avoid flooded streets: Do not drive through standing water, even on familiar streets. Often the water is deeper than you think and can cause your car to stall, trapping you in rising water. Water can damage a vehicle’s engine, electrical system and interior, and flood currents can also carry your vehicle away. More than than half of hurricane deaths in the last 30 years resulted from inland flooding according to the National Hurricane Center. Of those deaths, one in four people drowned cars.
Look out for wires: Hurricanes and other storms often knock down power lines, and you should never drive over them or near them. Don’t assume your car will protect you from such electrical hazards. You can get stuck trying to drive through downed or dangling wires, and while that won’t necessarily injure you, it can make it dangerous or impossible for rescuers to reach you.