Can you drive during a hurricane? Hurricanes are the stars of the show when it comes to the dramatic display of nature’s might.
As they come roaring ashore from the ocean, they reshape the terrain and put people to the test.
And it is always difficult to even think about driving a car through all that chaos.
But, can you drive during a hurricane warning? And how can you do it safely if you really have to do it?
You can drive during a hurricane though it is not always recommended but be sure to follow safety guidelines if you really need to drive.
The Concept of Driving During a Hurricane
An exhilarating sense of danger permeates the air as you drive through a hurricane’s surreal conditions:
- Rain lashing against your glass
- Wind howling all around you
- The constant fear of flying debris and flash floods
Is it brave or silly to try? Do we need to do that sometimes? And why is it really unsafe to drive through a hurricane?
Why Is It Unsafe to Drive During a Hurricane?
Hurricanes bring destructive winds, deluges of rain, and, along the coast, devastating storm surges.
The likelihood of accidents rises as a result of the current state of the roadways.
Here are just a handful of the many reasons why it is not a good idea to get behind the wheel during a hurricane:
Dangers of High Winds
Trees and electricity wires are vulnerable to the intense winds accompanying a hurricane.
It is also harder to maintain control of your car in hazardous weather.
High winds can transform common household items into lethal projectiles and scatter them across the landscape, rendering roadways inaccessible.
Fact: Hurricanes are notorious for bringing with them deluges of rain that make driving conditions hazardous and impair vision.
Problem of Flooding
Roads can become impassable in a hurry after a heavy downpour, particularly in low-lying places.
Unprepared drivers are particularly vulnerable in the event of flash floods.
Hurricanes can raise sea levels in coastal locations, a phenomenon known as a storm surge.
Because of this, roadways may become flooded and inaccessible or undetectable.
Fact: Most automobiles can float in 12 inches of water, and larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks can float in 24 inches of water.
Can You Drive During a Hurricane?
It is not recommended, but yes, you can drive during a hurricane. But, to play it safe, you must remember a few important points.
- Prepare Your Car for a Hurricane
- Learn to Drive in Heavy Rain
- Learn to Drive in Windy Conditions
- Learn to Drive Defensively
Preparing Your Car for a Hurricane
In the days leading up to a storm, there are a few things you can do to your automobile that will make a huge difference if you need to drive.
Inspect the Tire Pressure and Tread Depth
Both the tire pressure and tread depth should be greater than 2/32 of an inch.
Inserting a coin into every single groove making sure the Lincoln’s head stays upside down is a quick and straightforward way to measure the tread depth.
You need new tires if you can make out Lincoln’s entire head, hair and everything.
Check your owner’s manual for the appropriate tire pressure for your vehicle.
Keep the Windscreen Clean
Clear away any moisture caused by standing rain by spraying a rain repellent on your windscreen, side windows, and mirrors.
Arrange a Bag for Your Car
Bring a light source, a tool to smash a window, and something to cut your seatbelt or a Swiss army knife.
The National Hurricane Center has more resources for preparing for hurricanes.
Learn to Drive in Heavy Rain
If you must drive during a hurricane, following these guidelines may reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.
Drifting Through the Storm
Disable any cruise control features before proceeding.
Lifting your foot off the gas to use the brakes causes the front of the car to dip slightly unless you are using cruise control.
This improves the grip of the front tires. The car will not dip when you apply the brakes while in cruise control.
Instead, the rate of acceleration is constant, making it more challenging to maintain steering control by eliminating the benefits of an early weight shift.
Follow Used Paths
If the road has developed “ruts” in the places where the most traffic has been tracked, staying within those ruts will help you avoid puddles.
If you do this, your tires will be better able to manage the water.
Handle Hydroplane Carefully
Keep your cool and steer in the desired direction if you feel the car start to slide.
Avoid slamming on the brakes, as doing so can further throw the vehicle off balance and make it more difficult to control.
It usually just takes a second or two for your automobile to regain traction after hydroplaning.
The wisest course of action is to wait it out. Do not make any jerky movements, ease off the throttle, and keep traveling in the general direction you came from.
Fact: You can manage hydroplaning simply by holding the wheel firmly and making minute adjustments to your course.
Consider the Damaged Pump
After driving through deep water, wet drum brakes have very poor stopping strength.
You should never drive through high water, and you should pump your brakes gently from time to time to help dry them and make sure they work.
Avoid Flooding Areas
Only a foot of rushing water can sweep a car off the road, while roads that are completely submerged can collapse.
If your car’s engine stops working while you are driving through deep water, you could do serious damage by trying to restart it.
You should find an alternate route if you encounter a flooded street. The Weather Channel gives advice on how to proceed with caution if you can’t.
Fact: Do not risk your life by driving through water near a downed power line and find an alternate route if you come across any fallen utility poles.
Learn to Drive in Windy Conditions
Expect strong winds while driving during a hurricane.
Here are a few tips for driving through windy conditions:
- Be especially cautious when driving across open spaces, bridges, and overpasses, all of which are prone to high winds.
- If the wind starts to blow you off course, simply turn the car back in the desired direction.
- Be very cautious around trucks and buses. High winds can make it dangerous for drivers of tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles to keep their cars in their lanes.
- When driving a large vehicle or pulling a trailer, especially in windy conditions, it is important to keep both hands on the wheel.
Learn to Drive Defensively
Understand the importance of learning to drive defensively.
Here are a few tips to remember:
- If you raise the speed at which your windshield wipers move, you should lower your speed by 10 miles per hour.
- Driving more slowly lessens the likelihood of losing traction and, in some cases, can prevent hydroplaning.
- You should maintain a distance of at least 5 seconds from the next car.
- Keep an eye on the vehicle in front of you as it goes past a stationary structure, like a lamppost or utility pole.
- Watch your surroundings from all angles. Keep an eye out for anything affecting the control of your vehicle, such as falling or flying debris, electrical lines, etc.
- Put away your mobile devices and the radio. Stay focused on the road at all times.
- Be sure your headlights are on. Even during the day.
Try Alternative to Driving
If a hurricane warning forces you to flee, it is best not to risk driving yourself, especially if the roads are bad.
Here are some alternatives to consider:
Use Public Transportation
Taking public transit during a hurricane or hurricane warning is a safer option than driving.
Governments at all levels frequently take measures to coordinate evacuation protocols, and these plans frequently include public transit options like buses and trains.
Due to their size and weight, these vehicles are more stable when driving in severe weather, such as strong winds or rain.
You can make sure you and your loved ones are safe in an emergency and help ease traffic by using these services.
If you need to get somewhere during a storm warning or an actual hurricane, but public transit is not an option, consider carpooling.
Sharing a ride with a neighbor, friend, or family member can considerably help alleviate traffic congestion, a common issue during times of crisis.
Another perk of carpooling is the social and emotional assistance it can provide during difficult times.
Fact: Before venturing out into hazardous driving conditions, make sure you have an experienced driver and a well-maintained vehicle.
Can you drive during a hurricane? During a hurricane or hurricane warning, staying put may be the safest option depending on the specific circumstances.
Staying indoors and making sure your house is ready to withstand the storm is the plan here.
But, if you really have to leave the area, you can definitely consider driving during a hurricane.
Still, it is important to drive carefully and learn how to follow certain guidelines to stay safe.
If possible, consider riding with friends and family to manage things better.