Driving in Severe Weather
Author: Auger Law | October 12th, 2016
So far, 22 deaths in the United States have been attributed to Hurricane Matthew, and dangerous flooding in North Carolina may make that number rise. Flash flood warning were issued throughout the state, where approximately one million homes and businesses were without power. Of the deaths in this state, one person was killed when their vehicle hydroplaned, and two people were killed when their vehicle became submerged under flood waters.
Despite many warnings, people ventured out of their homes and onto the roadways. While any person losing their life is tragic, it is perhaps even more so when those deaths could have been avoided. Dying in a vehicle accident is not something that has to happen in a severe weather event like a hurricane.
1. Stay Home
Your best course of action in such an emergency is to stay home. Unless you are having a medical emergency that dictates your leaving the house, don’t venture out.
2. Avoid Standing Water
Do not attempt to drive through standing water, even if you see the vehicle ahead of you clear it safely. This is especially important when there are flash flood warnings. You never know when waters will quickly cross the road and take your vehicle with it. Even if your vehicle is not swept away, it can become submerged and leave you trapped.
3. Wipers and Maintenance
When you know a storm is imminent and, better yet, well ahead of time, make sure that your wipers are in excellent shape and your vehicle has received proper maintenance. Wipers will help you see while driving through a downpour, and routine maintenance will reduce your chances of breaking down.
4. Drive Defensively
If you must drive in a storm, do so defensively. Keep several car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Brake slowly and carefully at intersections. Do not take turns too quickly, and always be aware of the possibility of hydroplaning.
Driving through a severe weather event may not be avoidable, but if it needs to happen, it should be done carefully. Follow the tips above to help make sure you are as safe as possible.
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