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Monday, July 12, 2010

Safety Tips for Driving During 2010 Hurricane Season

We are well into the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season and have already experienced one hurricane in the western Gulf of Mexico. Based on predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this season has a high probability of above normal activity and NOAA is predicting:

  • 14-23 Named Storms,

  • 8-14 Hurricanes

  • 3-7 Major Hurricanes

The late summer months traditionally see the greatest amount of hurricane activity so it's a good idea for residents of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to prepare now and consider what needs to be done, especially in regard to remaining safe on the road in the event of an evacuation.

Plan ahead - Fortunately, unlike other natural disasters, hurricanes give us plenty of advanced warning. When planning for an evacuation you should:

  • Gather important papers such as homeowner's insurance policies and other documents that you can’t afford to lose.

  • Make sure the vehicle you plan to take is in good mechanical condition. Keep oil changes up to date and make sure the fluid levels are topped off.

  • Make sure your tires are in good condition. You will be driving on rain soaked roads and excessively worn tires could make driving conditions treacherous.

  • Ensure you have a full tank of gas and, as the hurricane approaches, top it off. Gas stations may quickly run out of gas as the hurricane nears.

  • Make sure you have some cash available. Power may be knocked out to your bank and debit cards may be difficult to use.

  • Plan your evacuation destination. Inland hotels will fill up quickly and you may not be able to get a room without a prior reservation. Many hotels may not allow pets.

Evacuate Sooner rather than later – Driving conditions will be dangerous and the roads will be packed. In 2004, Hurricane Jeanne, a storm that only reached category 2 status, made landfall in south Florida but downed trees and caused flooding and massive power outages in NE Florida almost 200 miles away.

  • As the high winds approach, bridges and causeways leading inland may be closed.

  • Major interstates and highways will be closed to incoming traffic and all lanes will be open to outgoing traffic only.

  • Power outages will effect traffic lights causing further delays.

  • Obey the orders of law enforcement and National Guard personnel. Their directions carry the force of law.

  • Tune your radio to those stations that carry the Emergency Broadcast System and listen for reports.

Exercise patience and caution while driving – Be especially watchful of other drivers and road conditions.

  • Understand that the roadways will be packed with evacuees and driving conditions will be very slow. Don’t allow your temper to get in the way of safe driving behaviors.

  • Hurricanes spawn tornadoes. If a tornado approaches, get out of your car and seek shelter in a substantial building or in a low-lying area such as a ditch or culvert.

  • Watch out for flooded roads. If the road ahead is flooded, turn around and find an alternate route.

  • Flooded roads may hide the fact that the roadway is washed out underneath.
  • The roadway could collapse under the weight of your vehicle.

  • As little as six inches of rushing water can force your car off the road.

If you can, avoid coming back home until the roadways have been cleared and power is restored. For more information on hurricane preparedness visit:

Additional Safety Tips for: Hurricane Seasons and Flooded Roads

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The National Safety Commission, Inc.
PO Box 3359
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004-3359

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