Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On The Road: Severe weather doesn't yield, you should!

Getting caught in severe weather in the middle of rush hour is a very real nightmare that could happen to us anytime and anywhere. Even when traffic is light, this is a very scary situation, one you need to plan for as much as you do at home or at work. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are caught on the road when disaster closes in on you.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
  • Do not park under overpasses during severe weather. It can make you harder to see and someone could easily crash into your vehicle. In a tornado, an underpass is one of the most dangerous places you can be.
  • If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
  • Keep all emergency contact information on you at all times including local police and fire, your family, and your out-of-town family contact from your family communication plan.
  • In case roads are closed or inaccessible, take time now to learn alternate routes and ways to get where you need to go. There are often multiple ways to reach a destination.
  • Keep a local map with you in case you need to walk or take another form of transportation.
  • While commuting, carry with you a small flashlight, dust mask and a pair of protective gloves. Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, water, non-perishable food, emergency blanket, and first aid kit and emergency signals such as flares or a signaling flag.
If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy structure. If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
Keep your radio tuned to a local station at all times to stay updated on all the current weather in your area. Drive slow and stay aware of the changing conditions around you.

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