In one recent study, it was found that 1.3 million of the 5.8 million accidents that occur in the US each year are connected to weather. FEMA warns: “After almost every disaster, rescue teams find victims who might have survived if they had known whether to stay with or leave their cars.” So, in the event of disaster, should you stay or should you go? Here’s what our research found:
Earthquake: STAY Drive away from buildings and trees, if possible. Stay in the car with your seat belt on until the earthquake is over. Wait at least 15 minutes before exiting the vehicle in case there are aftershocks.
Tornado: GO Don’t attempt to outdrive a tornado. A car is one of the most dangerous place to be. Get out and away from the vehicle as it may be a projectile. Lie flat in a ditch or deep depression with your arms over your head.
Blizzard: STAY Unless you can see a safe location in a reasonable distance, it is best to wait for rescue. The engine can be turned on for brief periods to provide heat, but always keep a window cracked to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Leave a light on inside as a signal for rescuers.
Flood: GO 32% of flood related deaths happen in a vehicle. As little as 6 inches of water can cause a vehicle to stall, and 12 inches of flowing water can move a vehicle or cause it to float. If you stall out in water, exit the vehicle and find higher ground as quickly as possible.
Lighting: STAY Unless you can quickly reach shelter in a building, stay put. Pull off to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, turn off the engine, and wait until the storm passes. Do not touch any metal or electronics in the car - including the radio and your cell phone.
Hail: GO If hailstones are large enough to damage your vehicle, find shelter if possible. If it's too dangerous to exit the vehicle, shelter in place. The windshield glass is stronger than windows, so park the car at such an angle that the windshield receives the brunt of the hits. Lie down in the vehicle and shield your face to protect against breaking glass.
Use extreme caution when driving after a storm or disaster. Watch for cracked pavement, damaged bridges and downed power lines. Remember that traffic signs may be out of order, or missing entirely for that matter. Stay safe!