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Keeping Safe from Hurricane: Three Driving Tips

30 Octobre 2012 - Wall Street Journal

Keeping Safe from Hurricane: Three Driving Tips

As I backed our Infiniti test car into the garage its navigation system began chattering, “High wind warnings five miles from current location.” It also alerted me to “coastal flood warnings” in the area.

Usually I ignore yammering cars but this time it is serious as Hurricane Sandy approaches the greater New York area.

One shortfall with advanced navigation systems is that they don’t tell drivers what to do in hurricanes and other dangerous weather conditions. Of course the first thing they should say is “stay home.” But if you are caught behind the wheel in a storm, here are three rules of thumb for staying safe:

Be wary of standing water: Flooded streets can be deceptively dangerous because the water is often deeper than you think. Trying to drive through it can result in a stall if water gets into the engine, exhaust system or electronics. Rapidly rising water can also trap you in the car. Inland flooding typically causes more than half of hurricane fatalities and victims often drown in their cars.

Watch out for wires: Downed power lines are a major hazard during hurricanes. While cars offer some protection from live wires, drivers often get stuck while trying to drive around them. At that point the wires can make it nearly impossible to exit the car safely, and compound the danger for emergency crews trying to rescue you.

Look for shelter: Hurricane winds can make vehicles difficult to control and even blow them off the road. If you are stuck driving in a storm and find it hard to maintain control of your car, seek the protection of a parking garage or bridge underpass.

 

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