Safety Tips For Driving During Hurricane Season

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Legally reviewed by Alex Uriarte on August 23, 2022 Alex Uriarte is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

With hurricane season in full swing, the team at 1-800-Injured knows that the best way to avoid serious injuries during a storm is to be prepared. You need to equip yourself with the necessary supplies, safety measures to protect your property and family, and knowledge of how to take care of yourself in this stressful situation.

One detail that many people overlook is the matter of driving in a storm. The prevailing wisdom is to stay where you are and avoid the roads, but what happens if there is an evacuation or you need to drive for any other reason?

Take a look at this list of tips for staying safe on the road during a hurricane, and remember that the best driving tip of all is to avoid doing it in a hurricane unless you have to.

Stay Updated on the Latest Weather Reports

Make sure that you have a clear picture of the weather and any upcoming changes that are predicted. Once you are in the vehicle, keep your car radio tuned to local weather. Even though listening to music or turning the stereo off entirely might be helpful for your concentration, hurricanes can change in an instant. You need to know what is happening and stay informed of any substantial changes that could jeopardize your safety while in transit.

Plan Your Route in Advance and Share Plans With Someone

You should know exactly where you are going before you start driving, and you should share your planned route with someone who is not in the vehicle with you. This way, if something happens and you do not arrive at your destination or you are forced to take a different route due to road closures or other conditions, that person can alert authorities.

Furthermore, you should turn on your location sharing with a trusted family member or friend.

Your plan should consider the following:

  • The locations of gas stations in case you need to refuel
  • The locations of medical facilities in case you or a passenger is injured
  • The location of evacuation routes and shelters
  • Any current road closures

Do Not Drive Through a Flooded Area

This should go without saying, but do not drive through a flooded area. Many people mistakenly equate the clearance height of their vehicle with the vehicle’s ability to drive through water, but this is not the case. Just six inches of water can reach the bottom of most passenger cars and trucks, causing stalling or loss of control.

A tall truck or SUV might be able to cross a river that would swamp a lower, smaller car, but all it takes is a few inches of water to flood your engine, no matter what you are driving. According to the National Weather Service, just one foot of water can float a car. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most cars and trucks.

Never Drive Around Barricades or on Blocked Roads

If you see a road that is blocked by a barricade or other obstruction, do not try to go around it. The same goes for driving on flooded roads. Not only is it illegal, but it is also dangerous.

Roads get blocked off for flooding, downed power lines, or debris. If you drive around a barrier, you could get stranded or injured. And to make matters worse, your insurance company is unlikely to accept a claim for damages if you willingly put yourself into a dangerous situation, meaning that you would have to pay for any repairs or replacements out of your pocket.

Watch for Downed Power Lines and Other Debris

In addition to flooding, you also need to look out for downed power lines and other debris. This is especially true in rural areas where there might not be as many people around to clear roads and sidewalks.

If you see a downed power line, do not try to move it yourself. Call the authorities and wait for them to arrive. If you see debris on the road, proceed with caution and, if possible, try to avoid it altogether.

Drive Slowly and Defensively

When driving in hurricane conditions, taking your time and driving slowly is paramount. This will give you more time to react if there are sudden changes in the weather or road conditions and will also give you more time to stop if you come across a hazard.

In addition to driving slowly, you also need to drive defensively. This means being aware of the other drivers around you and their potential for making mistakes. Unfortunately, not everyone drives as carefully as they should in bad weather, so it is important to look out for other drivers who might be speeding, tailgating, or weaving in and out of traffic.

Keep an Emergency Kit Handy

Keep an emergency kit in your car with supplies like food, water, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight with fresh batteries. This will keep you prepared in case you get stranded or have to evacuate. Dry clothes and a blanket are also good things to have on hand.

Your emergency kit should also include a map of the area since road conditions can change quickly and you might need to take a different route than usual. If you have a phone charger, make sure to bring it with you as well in case your phone battery dies and you need to call for help.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

A full tank of gas will give you more options if you need to evacuate and will also help keep your engine running smoothly in stop-and-go traffic. Also, it may be difficult – if not impossible – to get gas during the hurricane. If you do not have enough gas to get to and from your destination, you may be out of luck.

Planning includes things like putting gas in your vehicle and having additional fuel if you rely on a generator once the power goes out.

Follow the Instructions of Local Authorities

When driving during hurricane season, it is important to follow the instructions of local authorities. This includes things like evacuating when told to do so and not driving into areas that have been evacuated. Local authorities will often have the most up-to-date information on road closures, flooding, and other hazards, so you should always check for updates before heading out. You can find this information online, on the news, or by listening to the radio.

The Bottom Line

By following these safety tips, you can help ensure that you and your family stay safe during hurricane season. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so err on the side of caution and take your time when driving in bad weather.

No matter how cautious and prepared we may be, there will always be the risk of an injury or accident. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service dedicated to connecting victims with lawyers to help them get the compensation they deserve after an accident. If you or a loved one suffers any injuries or damages during a hurricane, contact us for a free consultation with an attorney in your area.