Hurricane Car Safety Tips

Check the car windows. It seems simple, but it is important. Make sure the windows and sunroof are closed properly.

Take photos. This applies to both the car and the house. Take some before photos in case you need to prove the storm caused the damage.

Park on high ground. Doing this will help eliminate some of the risk of flooding. A water damaged car is an expensive and disappointing boat anchor.

Protect the garage. In the South, modern homes are built to hurricane codes, with frames and even garage doors designed to withstand severe storms. If that’s not the case where you live, consider parking your car outside, pressed against the garage door, on its side, to block high-velocity winds and hopefully preserve the integrity of the door. If true hurricane winds blow through the garage door, the storm can cause serious structural damage. With an attached garage, that damage can quickly move into the house.

protect meinsurance paperwork. If possible, keep a copy of your auto insurance paperwork in a zippered bag inside your travel bag. If the car is damaged, don’t delay calling the insurance company for days. Chances are you’re not alone and your local repair shops fill up fast.

Evacuate with caution. If you decide to get away from the storm, before the high winds arrive, drive carefully. Don’t speed up, especially in the rain. The faster you drive, the greater the risk of hydroplaning, when water causes a vehicle’s tires to lift off the road surface. Stick to main roads.

According to Myles Mitchom, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, it’s important to simply avoid flooded areas, especially those with fast-flowing water. “Keep things safe and simple, (and) reschedule your plans if you’re aware of flooding in the area,” he says. “If flooding occurs when you’re on the road, stay on high ground.” He added that it’s important to remember not to camp or park your vehicle along creeks or streams, especially when conditions are threatening.

Avoid shortcuts. They are more likely to run into trouble, especially after the storm (downed trees, flooding), and emergency workers are less likely to keep the road clear. Try to limit the family to one car, to minimize traffic congestion. And stay away from flooded areas and downed power lines.

With quick preparation, your car can play a key role in weathering the storm. Good luck.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit ready.gov Y fema.gov.

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