How to prepare your vehicle for a hurricane or major storm
We’ve gathered some tips and tricks for you to ensure that your car is properly taken care during this hurricane season:
1. Before the hurricane hits, make sure you have documentation for your car. That includes registration and insurance documents, stored in a waterproof container like a zip-top plastic bag, but also photos of your car’s interior and exterior in the event you need to make an insurance claim for hurricane damage.
2. Keep your gas tank topped off and make sure the battery is in good condition in case you need to evacuate. Gas pumps often need electricity and if a storm takes out power and backup generators, you won’t be able to refuel.
3. Check the tire pressure, including the spare tire. When it is time to go, you don’t want a simple flat tire to hold you back. If debris litters the streets, the chance of a tire puncture is much greater.
4. If you can, find a safe garage and park your vehicle there. Look for a place that will protect your car from high winds or flooding. Avoid leaving your vehicle under power lines or trees that could be knocked down by stormy gusts. If a garage is not an option, seek out a building that can partially shelter your vehicle from high winds.
5. Park the vehicle on high ground, removing the risk of flooding. A water-damaged car is an expensive, disappointing boat anchor.
6. Avoid driving if at all possible during and after the storm. If you must drive, exercise extreme caution. Avoid flooded roads at all costs and watch out for debris, downed power lines or weak bridges and roads.
7. Pack supplies – It’s always a good idea to have a go-bag ready with essentials, but you can put another one in your car for an unexpected evacuation. Include water, food, extra clothing, flashlights, physical maps and car chargers for any electronics you bring along.
8. If your car sustains major water damage, don’t try to start it, but if you do head out remember these tips for driving during flood conditions:
Whether you’re in the path of a hurricane, tropical storm or anywhere experiencing flooding, most safety experts recommend that you don’t even try to go out and drive until the weather clears and the waters subside. But if you do find yourself on the road as conditions worsen, here are a few tips from AAA and Progressive Insurance on how to deal with the situation.
-Unless instructed by authorities DO NOT drive through standing water. There’s often know way to know how deep it is, and dangerous obstacles may be hidden underneath.
-If you have no alternative other than to drive through deep water, go slowly to avoid creating a bow wave and try to judge how deep it is by monitoring any vehicles in front of you. Leave your seatbelt on.
-Avoid flowing water. Some cars can be swept away by moving water only one foot deep.
-Keep an eye out for floating objects.
-Stay away from downed power lines. Water is a great conductor of electricity, which could lead to injury if you have to evacuate your vehicle.
-When you exit the water, make sure your brakes are operating properly before you drive off. If not, keep applying them until they are functioning normally.
-If you find yourself stuck in quickly rising water, abandon your vehicle and head for the highest ground. Assume the water is contaminated when you do.