Staying Safe During a Hurricane
Prepare yourself, your family, and your home for an impending storm. Read our tips to stay safe when a hurricane could be headed your way. AAA Carolinas recommends following The Department of Transportation for evacuation routes and updated information.
Before a Storm:
- Locate all of your important records (such as passports, birth certificates and insurance documents) in advance of a natural disaster and secure them in a bank safety deposit box to avoid damage.
- Plan your family’s evacuation route and have an emergency plan.
- Comprise an emergency kit of bottled water, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights and first aid supplies.
- Secure your property by tying down any freestanding outdoor items. Reinforce your garage doors.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed to improve their wind resistance.
- Inventory your belongings and keep valuable belongings in a waterproof pouch, including documents and photos.
During a Storm:
- Pay close attention to hurricane alerts. Know the difference between a hurricane watch (hurricane-type conditions are likely in your area) and a hurricane warning (a hurricane is expected within 24 hours).
- Evacuate if possible. Use the evacuation plan you’ve already prepared, leave early and during daylight hours.
- Stay calm.
After a Storm:
- Return home only after Emergency Management officials say it is okay.
- Keep in mind that flash flooding can occur and that roads and bridges may be damaged.
- To verify road conditions after a hurricane call: 511 in North Carolina and 888-877-9151 in South Carolina.
- Be aware of hazards relative to power lines, polluted water and the possibility of fire due to low water pressure.
- Expect damage assessment teams to do an extensive review of all areas and insurance representatives to be on the scene immediately following a hurricane to expedite the handling of claims. Notify your AAA insurance agent of any losses and leave word where you can be reached. Keep in mind that hardship cases are settled first, so please be patient.
AAA Driving Tips:
- Do not drive in rainy weather and high winds if you don’t have to.
- Check your tires (including your spare) to make sure they have plenty of tread and are properly inflated.
- Before the storm hits, fill up your gas tank.
- Make sure the windshield wipers are in good shape. The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.
- Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle, which includes a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; mobile phone and car charger; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.
On the Road:
- To boost visibility, drive with your headlights on.
- Reduce your speed to account for the lower traction on wet roads and the destabilizing effects of high winds.
- To avoid a collision, keep enough open space around your vehicle. Drivers should extend their following distance to at least 5 or 6 seconds, and adjust speed to keep open space to at least one side of your vehicle at all times.
- If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, gently ease off the accelerator and continue to look and steer where you want to go. This will help the vehicle regain traction.
- Avoid driving through flooded areas, even if you are familiar with the roads. The flooded area may contain dangers such as debris, tree branches or power lines that are not visible. The best thing you can do is turn around and find an alternate route.
AAA Travel Tips:
- AAA urges travelers to check with their travel agent and travel providers for cancellation policies and itinerary changes.
- It is important to monitor weather conditions regularly, both at your departure city and destination.
- Check your flight status before leaving for the airport. Consider signing up for text or mobile app alerts from your airline for the latest flight information.
- When flying, bring essentials in your carry-on bag in case travel schedules change.
- Check with your hotel for local updates on the storm’s impact.
- Heed all evacuation advisories and orders.
- Before traveling internationally, enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact them in case of an emergency.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance before a trip to protect you in the event of severe inclement weather.