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In Your Car When Severe Weather Strikes?
AAA Mid-Atlantic Offers Tips for Staying Safe
PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 26, 2019) – The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch and hazardous weather outlook for the Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware through 9 p.m. tonight. Strong thunderstorms and even tornados can strike quickly and fiercely.
The potential for severe weather will likely take place between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., meaning the risk for dangerous driving conditions increases just in time for the afternoon/evening commute. Because dangerous, damaging storms could catch many motorists on the roads, AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging drivers and their passengers to be prepared and take appropriate safety precautions should they face severe weather while traveling in a vehicle.
“Storms are common throughout the spring and summer, which means drivers will face storm-related challenges while in their vehicles,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager, public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A vehicle can either be very dangerous or a place of safety, depending on the weather conditions. Motorists should remain alert and not take any unnecessary chances while driving during or under the threat of severe weather.”
The key is being prepared for severe weather and reacting the right way to what Mother Nature throws at you.
Heavy Rain and Flooding
Heavy downpours make it difficult to see while driving.
- If visibility is severely limited during heavy rain, drivers should reduce their speed and if they can safely do so, pull off the road out of traffic lanes, turn on flashing hazard lights, and wait until the rain lightens.
- Pooling water on roadways can cause hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control, so motorists should reduce their speeds during rainy conditions.
- Avoid driving in floodwater.Flooding causes more deaths than any other storm-related event, and many of those deaths occur in vehicles. As little as 12 inches of moving water can sweep most vehicles off the road. Turn around, don’t drown.
The National Weather Service reports that lightning strikes about 25 million times a year, killing an average of 49 people in the United States and severely injuring hundreds more.
- If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, seek shelter in a hard-topped vehicle, or a low area, such as a tunnel.
- If you are already in your car when a lightning storm begins, stay in the vehicle for shelter, but steer clear of fences, isolated trees, telephone poles, power lines and pipelines.
NOAA reports that the United States is the most tornado-prone country in the world, with about 1,000 tornadoes touching down each year. Tornado warnings mean danger is imminent. If a tornado has been sighted, move to the safest place possible.
- If you are in your car and a tornado is close, abandon the vehicle and seek shelter in a sturdy structure.
- If no structure is nearby, seek shelter in the nearest ditch. Lie flat, face-down on the ground, and protect the back of your head with your arms.
- Stay away from trees and cars.
AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends that motorists create a spring/summer severe weather emergency kit to carry in their cars. The kit should include items such as nonperishable food/snacks and water, tool kit, flashlight, hand-crank or battery-powered radio, extra batteries, cell phone and charger, first-aid supplies, flares or reflectors, rain coat or poncho, a towel or blanket, and rain boots or an extra pair of shoes.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.