As we move into June and look back at the first part of 2013, there’s one thing we can say about this year so far. The weather has been interesting, to say the least! Snow in late March, up-and-down temperatures, and serious storms have been among Mother Nature’s tricks. This past week was particularly scary in parts of the St. Louis Metro area, and our hearts go out to those coping with loss and damages.
We want to take a moment to explore some ways to stay safe during future storms:
Always Be Prepared. We have previously explored car maintenance and having an emergency kit. In relation to storms, it is vital to ensure your headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers are in working order and your tires are in good shape. Driving in heavy rain is much more dangerous when your car is not ready to handle it.
Baby, please don’t go. Yes, sometimes the weatherman is wrong and incoming storms are sensationalized, but advances in meteorology and access to information on the internet allow us to have some confidence in predicting the weather. Usually, we know when a large storm system is coming into the area. It isn’t always possible, but sometimes our errands and activities can be rearranged so that we can be home safely when dangerous weather arrives.
Tune in. If you are out, it is not the time for iTunes or CD’s. Tune into local radio for updates and warnings. Keep the volume at a reasonable level, in case you need to listen for tornado sirens or emergency vehicles.
While driving in heavy rain, turn your lights on and slow down. Keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles. Remember to adjust your steering in high winds, paying attention to areas where your exposure to the wind will change, such as passing a large truck or moving out from under an overpass. Always avoid downed power lines and flooded roads.
Sometimes, it is necessary to pull over to stay safe in heavy rain or hail. In this instance, turn on your hazard lights and do not get out of the car. Some sources advise to turn the car off and avoid touching metal surfaces, in case of heavy lightning. Though this is not supported everywhere, there is no reason to not do so.
If tornadic conditions are present, it is undoubtedly better to be in a sturdy building. It is widely accepted that there is no safe way to be in a car during a tornado. The National Weather Service explores the issue of outrunning tornadoes, which is generally ill-advised. If you do find yourself in such a situation, determine whether you are able to get significantly below the roadway and out of the way of debris (such as in a ditch), to park out of the traffic lanes and lie down in that area. If not, stay in your car, remain buckled into your seat belt, get as low as possible and cover up with a coat or blanket.
We hope you always find yourself driving in sunny skies. In the event that clouds come your way, be prepared and stay safe. And if your car suffers damage, call on us to Make It Like It Never Happened.