You’re driving along an unfamiliar rural interstate. The sun is shining one minute and the next the sky turns ominously dark. A storm is coming, and from the looks of things it could be a bad one. Do you know what to do to stay safe? The American Red Cross has steps to follow to remain safe if they run into a storm while traveling.
Monster storms have been tearing across the country recently with strong winds and heavy rain, sometimes popping up unexpectedly as people drive to their destination.
FIRST, BE PREPARED If planning to travel by vehicle, first check the weather forecast for your entire route, getting prepared for what may be in store. Travel and weather web sites can help you avoid storms and other regional challenges that could impact your safety. Other steps to take before you depart include:
TIME TO GO As you get ready to depart, fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see. Don’t let the gas tank get too low during the trip. Use your seat belts and give your full attention to the road and avoid distractions such as cell phones. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely and use caution in work zones.
DURING THE STORM Many states now use flashing signs along the highways to warn drivers about severe weather threats. If you pass one of these signs, or the sky turns dark and threatening, tune into a local radio station to listen to weather forecasts for where you are. If you are caught in a storm while driving, turn your headlights on and try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. If thunder and lightning is occurring, avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
IS IT A TORNADO? Severe tornadoes are more common in the Plains states, but have been reported in every state. If flying debris occurs while driving, pull over and park. You have the following options as a last resort:
If you are traveling with your pet, the Red Cross has special advice to make your trip more enjoyable.