Hurricane Preparation Tips

Your safety and the safety of your family and others is most important, so develop a hurricane preparedness plan before a hurricane strikes. While the following tips are intended to help you protect your car, your first consideration should always be to protect yourself and others.

As you prepare for possible severe weather, we would like to remind you of an often overlooked element of hurricane preparedness: driving safely as you're evacuating or returning home after a storm.

According to the National Hurricane Center, more than half of all hurricane deaths in the last 30 years have resulted from inland flooding. Of those deaths, one in four were people who drowned in their cars.

Also, one of the biggest dangers posed by inland flooding is the standing water caused by the storm surge. Driving through standing water can be dangerous and may cause damage your car's upholstery, carpeting and electrical system.

Progressive offers these tips for staying safe:

  • Fill your vehicle with gasoline before the storm arrives.
  • Prepare an emergency kit stocked with items that can help you get through a breakdown.
  • If you're evacuating an area and leaving a vehicle behind, be sure it's not left in a low-lying area prone to flooding. Rising water can seep in and damage your vehicle.
  • When you’re evacuating or returning following a storm, watch for standing water in parking lots or on streets.
  • Avoid driving through standing water. The average car can be swept off the road by as little as 12 inches of moving water. Find an alternate route.
  • If you encounter a situation where you have no other reasonable alternative than to drive through standing water, do your best to first estimate the depth of the water. Know that the threat of the roadway collapsing under water is real.
  • Drive slowly and steadily through the water.
  • If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety (know, however, that restarting may cause irreparable damage to the engine).
  • If you can't restart your vehicle and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. If you are unable to get out of the vehicle safely, call 911 or get the attention of a passerby or someone standing on higher ground.
  • Once you and your vehicle are out of deep water and are in a safe area, depress your brakes slowly several times to help dry them out.

Sources: NOAA, AAA, National Hurricane Center