DRIVING IN A DISASTER Safety Tips for Motorists in Emergencies

DRIVING IN A DISASTER Safety Tips for Motorists in Emergencies
Safety Tips for Motorists in Emergencies
After almost every disaster, search and rescue teams find victims who might have
survived if they had known whether to stay with or leave their cars. Following are safety tips for
drivers in various types of emergencies. This information should be kept in the glove
compartment of your car. In any situation, the most important rule is: Don’t panic.
Hurricane...Evacuate Early
Flooding can begin well before a hurricane nears land. Plan to evacuate early, and keep
a full tank of gas during the hurricane season. Learn the best evacuation route before a storm
forms, and make arrangements with friends or relatives inland to stay with them until the storm
has passed. Never attempt to drive during a hurricane or until the all clear is given after the
storm. Flash flooding can occur after a hurricane has passed. Avoid driving on coastal and lowlying roads. Storm surge and hurricane-caused flooding are erratic and may occur with little or
no warning.
Flood...Get Out of the Car
Never attempt to drive through water on a road. Water can be deeper than it appears,
and water levels can rise very quickly. Most cars will float dangerously for at least a short while.
A car can be buoyed by floodwaters and then swept downstream during a flood. Floodwaters
also can erode roadways, and a missing section of road - even a missing bridge - will not be
visible with water running over the area. Wade through floodwaters only if the water is not
flowing rapidly and only in water no higher than the knees. If a car stalls in floodwater, get out
quickly and move to higher ground. The floodwaters may still be rising, and the car could be
swept away at any moment.
Tornado...Get Out of the Car
A car is the least safe place to be during a tornado. When a warning is issued, do not
try to leave the area by car. If you are in a car, leave it and find shelter in a building. If a tornado
approaches and there are no safe structures nearby, lie flat in a ditch or other ground depression
with your arms over your head.
Summer Heat...Stay Out of a Parked Car
During hot weather, heat build-up in a closed or nearly closed car can occur quickly
and intensely. Children and pets can die from heat stroke in a matter of minutes when left in a
closed car. Never leave anyone in a parked car during periods of high summer heat.
Cars should be equipped with supplies, which could be useful in any emergency.
Depending on location, climate of the area, personal requirements and other variables, the
supplies in the kit might include (but are not limited to) the following:
blanket/sleeping bag
booster cables and tools
bottled water
canned fruits and nuts and manual can opener
first aid kit
rain gear and extra clothes
necessary medication
matches and candles
traction mats or chains
Listen to radio or television for the latest National Weather Service bulletins on severe
weather for the area in which you will drive. In times of developing emergencies such as toxic
material spill or nuclear plant accidents keep a radio or television on and await instructions. If
evacuation is recommended, move quickly but calmly, following instructions as to route to be
used, evacuation shelter to be sought, and other directions.
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