With most of your focus on your family and home, you may not think much about your car during a hurricane. But it may just be your key to safety if you need to evacuate.
Make sure your car is ready and that you understand how to drive in severe conditions.
Well in advance:
- Prepare an evacuation route. Check with local officials for all routes leaving your area as one route may be more congested than another.
- It is wise to store emergency supplies in your trunk. The basics include a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, and prescription medications. Also, a flashlight and extra batteries come in handy if you are stranded at night.
- Here are a few additional suggestions.
If a storm is forecast:
- Get a full tank of gas. Fuel may be in short supply after the storm.
- Make sure the windshield wipers are in good shape, and the tires (including your spare) are properly inflated. It might be wise to go ahead and have the oil changed if you are close to needing it changed.
- Place your auto and home insurance documents, vehicle registration, title, and other important documents in a waterproof bag and keep them with you. One idea would be to mail a copy of those documents to a friend or relative in another part of the country that is not experiencing storm activity.
- Charge your cell phone and plan to bring it if you evacuate. There are special adapters that can make your home charger also work in the car. There are weather apps for phones that allow you to track the movement of the storm in case the storm changes directions. You would not want to drive into the storm.
- If you expect to leave your car behind, be sure it’s not in a flood-prone area. Rising water can seep in and damage your vehicle.
- If you’re instructed to evacuate, do so immediately.
If you’re ordered to evacuate or are returning home after an evacuation:
- Avoid driving through deep water. The average car can be swept off the road by as little as 12″ of moving water. Just try to find an alternate route.
- If your vehicle stalls in water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety. But be aware that restarting may severely damage your engine.
- If you can’t restart your car and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. If you’re unable to get out safely, call 911 or get help from a passerby or someone standing on higher ground.
- After you and your vehicle are out of deep water and in a safe area, depress your brakes slowly several times to help them dry.
Also be sure to review your auto insurance policy and make sure you have the right types of coverage and limits to protect your family and vehicle in the event of damage caused by a storm or an accident while traveling to evacuate. Contact an independent insurance agent to discuss your car insurance needs.