Whether you reside in a hurricane-prone area or will be road-tripping through one at some point in the next couple of months, here are some helpful strategies for driving safely in hurricane conditions.
Prepare in advance
- If a hurricane is about to hit your location, make sure to monitor local weather forecasts regularly.
- Keep your vehicle’s tank full of gas and keep a packed bag with essential items in your home, so you can be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. If you’re not sure what to include in your emergency kit, start with these items that the Red Cross recommends: bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, liquid bleach, pet supplies, and games (if you have children to transport).
- Leave town before an official evacuation is announced, instead of waiting until the last minute to do so. This will help you avoid traffic and help minimize the chance that you’ll have to drive through the worst weather and highest floodwaters.
Strategies for driving in hurricane conditions
But what if you can’t leave town well before the hurricane makes landfall? If you have to drive during the storm’s conditions, here are some safety tips to keep in mind.
- Be vigilant of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for large vehicles like buses and semitrucks, since they will be particularly vulnerable to high winds due to their larger surface area.
- Stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, to allow for extra time to brake.
- Avoid using cruise control, since this mode will cause your vehicle to accelerate if it starts to hydroplane.
- If you do hydroplane, however, don’t turn the steering wheel or slam on the brakes. Instead, gradually lift your foot off of the gas pedal and steer straight, until your vehicle’s tires get a grip on the road.
- Pull off to the shoulder of the road to wait out the rain, if you can’t see the road or the auto ahead due to heavy precipitation.