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Tips for Driving in Extreme Weather Events

Do you know what to do if you find yourself on the road during a lightning storm? What if you get stuck in a flash flood or an earthquake? You may not need these driving skills every day, but the knowledge is helpful in emergency situations.

The surest way to stay safe in these worst-case scenarios is to remain safely indoors. If you know a storm is coming, avoid driving and take shelter until local authorities give the all clear. If you do find yourself caught in the car, follow these tips to help you weather the storm:

Earthquake — Get to an open area away from potential hazards, stay put to avoid aftershocks and listen to the radio if possible for updates. After the tremors have passed, drive cautiously, avoiding overpasses and bridges and watching for road damage and downed electrical lines.

Lightning Storm — Stay in your vehicle; it is one of the safest places to be during a lightning storm. The steel frame acts as a Faraday cage, protecting the occupants inside as long as you aren’t touching any of the metal parts.

Flash Flood — Get to high ground as soon as possible and never attempt to drive through water covering the roadway. As little as six inches of water can cause loss of control and possible stalling for most passenger vehicles. If you find yourself stranded, call 911 immediately.

Blizzard — Be prepared for winter storms by always having a winter safety kit, including a shovel, with you in the vehicle and driving with a full tank of gas and a fully charged phone. If you break down, stay with your vehicle and call for help.

Tornado — If you spot a tornado, stop and find a place away from your car. The safest outdoor spot during a tornado is a hole or a depression that puts you lower than the road and acts as a natural shelter. Cover your head with your hands to protect yourself from flying debris.