The citizens of New Orleans still havent forgot the drastic consequences of Hurricane Katrina. Only 11 years after Katrina disaster, the southern coast of the United States is nervously waiting for the arrival of Matthew and Nicole, the hurricanes that already created havoc on several Caribbean islands. If you live in a zone affected by hurricanes, you basically have two options: to hunker down, or to evacuate before it arrives.
Driving in a hurricane zone is definitely not the safest option. If youre stranded on the road when the wind and rain start lashing, you should immediately stop your car and go to the nearest shelter. If you by any chance need to drive through a hurricane area, youll need to take certain precautionary measures before you start your trip. These include:
1. Paper maps
Hurricanes often cause communication failures. When this happens, you wont be able to rely on your GPS navigation, which is why you should always carry a paper map of the local area as a backup. This way, youll be able to find your way and leave the hurricane area as quickly as possible.
2. Pack a special hurricane emergency kit
A hurricane emergency kit should contain:
- A space blanket it is light and it reflects heat, which means it is perfect for warming you up if you get wet;
- Towels to wipe yourself in case you get wet;
- A rain poncho to protect you from the rain;
- A first aid kit for cleaning and bandaging wounds and scrapes;
- A flashlight hurricanes often cause power cuts, so a flashlight can be particularly useful, as well as one or few sets of extra batteries;
- A Swiss knife it can be used for untying screws, opening bottles and cans, etc.
- A radio for listening to the NOAA weather forecast and determining a hurricanes path. You can also use your car or cell phone radio receiver;
- Food and water supply if you get stranded in a traffic jam for a long time;
3 Equip your car
Your vehicle needs to be well equipped for the hurricane season. If your car breaks down on a hurricanes path, youll be stranded at a very dangerous place. Thats why you should do a complete vehicle inspection on a regular basis.
The braking system is very important during wet weather rides. You should check brakes before the hurricane season. Pull on the side and press the brake pedal. If you feel that your pedal is too taut or you hear unusual squealing or grinding noises, take your car to a local car mechanic immediately. In order to make your rides safer, you should install top-quality bandix brakes.
Since driving on wet roads requires good tires, you should always have good all-season (or winter) tires with deep and solid tread patterns. Tire treads divert road water and protect your car from hydroplaning. When treads become shallower than 1/16th of an inch, you should immediately replace your tires.
4. Drive safely
If you by any chance find yourself driving in a hurricane zone, take these precautions:
- Slow down Leave a bigger buffer zone between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This will give you more time to react if youre being buffeted by the wind.
- Grip the steering wheel firmly Grip it with both hands, keep your left hand in 9 oclock position and your right hand at 3 oclock.
- Expect wind gusts Sudden wind gusts can take you to the other lane. These usually occur when youre entering an exposed area, crossing an exposed bridge, driving a large or tall vehicle or sharing a road with large and tall trucks.
- Watch out for blowing objects and other road hazards Hurricanes can blow large and heavy objects into your path. Tree limbs can break your windshield and downed power lines can be very dangerous, especially if theyve fallen down on a flooded roadway.
Although some of these precautions can save you from road accidents and various other injuries, you should avoid driving your car in the areas affected by hurricanes. Finding a shelter by the roadside isnt easy, but you should have in mind that even the smallest shelter is safer than your car on the open road.