AAA Offers Safety Reminders as Hurricane Season Begins

driving in rain

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (June 2, 2015) – On June 1st hurricane season kicked off with many preparing for the possibility of harsh weather. The heavy rains and strong winds associated with tropical storms and hurricanes can quickly reduce visibility and create dangerous driving conditions on area roads. AAA Tidewater Virginia reminds motorists to take extra precautions when driving in any volatile weather.

“If you don’t have to drive during the storm, then don’t,” said Georjeane Blumling, spokesperson for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “If you must drive, take caution as conditions can become treacherous quickly. Nearly half of the people who die in flash floods are in automobiles because they vastly underestimate water’s power or depth, or don’t act quickly enough to escape.”

AAA SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS

Before The Storm

  • Gas up your car since power outages may leave service station without the ability to pump fuel out of the ground.
  • Clear your windshield and windows on the inside and outside.
  • Be sure tires are properly inflated.
  • Check that all vehicle lights are working properly.
  • Remove excess items from the car and trunk, and replace them with an emergency road service kit which includes: flashlight with extra batteries, reflective triangles, fire extinguisher, jumper cables, first aid kit, jack and a spare tire, rain gear or extra clothing, and pocket knife.

During The Storm

  • Heed the warnings of emergency officials and observe road closure signs.
  • Turn on windshield wipers and headlights (not just daytime running lights) as soon as rain begins to fall.
  • If windows begin to fog, turn on the car’s defroster, preferably the heat.
  • Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility.
  • Slow down. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. Rain decreases visibility and increases braking distances.
  • Increase following distances. Normal dry pavement following distance (3-4) seconds should be increased to 8 seconds or more when driving on slippery surfaces.
  • Driving in other vehicle’s tracks can improve traction and help you avoid hydroplaning.
  • Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles must remember they are not immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces.
  • Be wary of high wind conditions and give extra room for larger trucks.
  • Watch out for debris or downed wires on the roadways. If in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed power line, the best rule is to stay there until help arrives. If there is an imminent danger, such as fire, stand on the door frame or edge of the vehicle and jump clear with both feet at the same time. Do not make contact with anything on the vehicle so that your body does not become a pathway for the electricity to reach the earth.
  • Do not attempt to cross any standing water on the road. As little as six inches of water can make you lose control of your car and two feet of water will carry away most cars.
  • Try to avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood.
  • If you are forced to stop in traffic due to poor visibility, turn on emergency flashers.

After The Storm

  • If the vehicle has been flooded, contact a qualified automotive technician before attempting to start a flood-damaged car.
  • Have the technician inspect all mechanical components including the engine, transmission, steering system, axles, and fuel system for water contamination.
  • Also have the technician drain floodwater from contaminated systems and flush with clean water or a solvent, as appropriate.
  • All contaminated fluids, such as oil, transmission fluid, and engine coolant should be drained and replaced.

 

AAA TIPS FOR TRAVELERS

If you are planning to travel to or through an impacted region, be sure to check with your travel agent, airline or cruise provider. Your travel itinerary could have changed due to the storm.

Travel Insurance

  • Traditional travel insurance policies are valuable for a variety of travel situations; however, they do not cover acts of God and are therefore no help for travelers facing storm related cancellations. Travel vendors will often offer impacted clients alternate destinations and/or the ability to rebook their travel at a later date.

AAA TIPS FOR INSURANCE POLICY HOLDERS:

  • It is important to find out what your policy covers.
  • When you know what the deductible will be, find out when it will be imposed.
  • There are some deductibles that are strictly wind deductibles that are imposed regardless of being a named storm, the deductible applies for all wind related losses.
  • While you may not be able to amend this deductible you can educate yourself so that you understand what you have and when it applies!
  • Do you have flood insurance? Some people don’t realize that water rising (flood) isn’t covered under the standard homeowner’s policy in Virginia.
  • On the auto side, double check your policy to be sure you know the deductible and what is covered.

Remember, it is important to review and request adjustments to your policies BEFORE there is a storm approaching.  Once a storm is on its way, insurance companies implement moratoriums that prevent changes in coverage or deductibles being reduced.

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 325,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia