This has been one doozy of a hurricane season. First Harvey, then Irma, Jose, and now Maria. While we can’t go back in time for hurricane season 2017, we can learn from our mistakes and take a proactive approach in the face of the upcoming storms. If you are in a hurricane danger zone and want to take every precaution you can to prevent damage, read on to learn how to protect your car from hurricanes.
Take pictures of your car
Take pictures of your car’s current condition in the event you have to provide them to your insurance provider, being sure to take pictures of both the inside and outside. Now that we’re almost through the hurricane season, you should feel emboldened to protect your car from Hurricane Maria. We are all determined to do whatever it takes.
Important auto documents
Just as you would store your personal identification documents like your passport and driver’s license, you should do the same with your official automobile paperwork. Collect your car’s registration and insurance documents and store them in a waterproof, Ziplock bag that is properly sealed. You can also include any spare sets of keys.
It’s recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines and bring your car in regularly for service. It’s particularly helpful to have a car in optimum working order in emergency situations, especially during active hurricane seasons, which can call for spontaneous evacuation at the drop of a hat—or more accurately—the wobbling of a cat 5 hurricane in an unpredicted new direction, which we saw recently with Hurricane Irma. We want to be sure to avoid any of the catastrophe so many were subject to for the recently devastating Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Corpus Christi, and Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
If you’ve been living in a hurricane-prone area of the country this hurricane season, you undoubtedly have heeded the command to fill your gas tank. However, it’s important to discern, those who are more likely to stay in their communities need not top off. Filling up gas tanks is the order for those who will most likely evacuate. Unfortunately, because of the frequency and strength of the hurricanes of the 2017 season, panic has caused those in hurricane zones to gas up often when it’s not needed, which has contributed to gas shortages and long lines at the pump.
Supplies you may need
When disaster strikes—we are in the dark figuratively and literally—and often do not know how long to pack for. The best thing to do is be practical and leave luxury items behind as you prepare to protect your car from hurricanes. Some handy supplies you can bring that may prove extremely valuable (besides the trusty old flashlight and batteries) include jumper cables, a spare gas canister, windshield wiper fluid, rags, and antifreeze. If you don’t have a spare tire, a can of Fix-A-Flat may suffice.
Be smart on the road
Avoid danger. Don’t get on the road too soon after the storm as you may misjudge the depth of puddles and get stuck. Driving too early after a tropical storm or hurricane also puts you in danger of driving over damaged roads with hidden steep holes your car can get stuck in. Be especially cautious on overpasses or bridges; better yet, avoid them altogether. You also put yourself up against downed power lines.
Parking Do’s and Don’ts
Ideally, we would all be able to park our cars on higher ground in concrete garages. Regrettably, that is not the reality most of us have to live in. In fact, many hurricane-prone areas like Florida are flat and low-lying, which leaves cars left behind vulnerable to the storm and potential flood damage. Did you know just six inches of water can bring your car to a halt? If you have an unsafe parking situation, contact friends or family outside your community who you can travel to and park your car with them. If you don’t have many options, contact your city’s parking garages. During Hurricane Irma, many South Florida parking garages waived parking fees so residents could use their parking garages as a safe haven for their cars.
Finally, plan your evacuation route and have a backup plan in place on what to do if you get split up from your family. For Hurricane Irma, there was a shortage of water, so it’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of buying extra water when it’s not hurricane season that you can keep and only use if you need it. Keep a cooler handy and stock up on granola bars and other nonperishable snacks, preferably the nutrient-dense variety. Toss in cell phone chargers, some pillows and warm blankets and you may find you can get comfortable in the most cramped quarters.
Visit the following page for more Hurricane Safety Preparedness Tips brought to you by ready.gov and stay safe for other hurricanes and remember to help a friend in need.