Questions about how to keep your vehicle safe during severe weather are common in Houston. Hurricanes, hail, floods and heavy rain are some of the common severe weather events we experience each year.
Take appropriate precautions before hurricane season by following these simple tips to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Take appropriate measures to ensure that you and your family are safe. To protect your vehicle during a hurricane, take these steps:
- Consider the vehicle’s surroundings. When possible, remove the vehicle from proximity to trees and other large objects that could damage it in a hurricane or severe storm.
- Protect the vehicle from the possibility of falling objects. Move it to a garage or another covered structure.
- Keep the vehicle on higher ground to avoid the possibility of water damage. Low-lying areas are more prone to collect flood waters.
- Plan your evacuation route with care before it’s necessary. Have emergency supplies on hand. Keep the gas tank full.
How to Prepare for a Hail Storm
According to State Farm, Texans report the largest number of hail storm claims each year. Hail storms are known to cause extensive damage.
A single Texas hail storm can result in a billion dollar's worth of damage. A few minutes in a hail storm can cause extensive damage to a vehicle. Prepare and plan ahead to keep your vehicle safe:
- Learn about weather patterns that are likely to produce hail. Prepare for the possibility of a hail storm.
- Listen to weather forecasts. If hail is predicted, move your vehicle to a covered structure, e.g. garage, carport, or awning.
- Avoid personal injury. Stay inside during a hail storm.
- Cover your eyes during the hail storm with a jacket or blanket. Protect yourself from debris or shattered glass. When possible, lie face down on the vehicle’s floor, placing any young children beneath you. Alternatively, turn your back to the vehicle’s windows and lie face down on the car seat.
- Move your vehicle to safety if you’re driving in a hail storm. Look for a covered structure to safeguard the vehicle.
- Avoid driving through the hail storm. Continuing to drive increases the chance of damage to your vehicle. If you can’t find a garage, pull over on the side of the road. Wait until the storm ends. Visit DisasterSafety.org to learn more.
- Most hail storm damage is relatively minor. Most auto body claims are in the $1,000 - $5,000 range.
- Limit your losses in a hail storm. If the hail storm caused a broken window or windshield, cover the glass area with plastic or tape to prevent new damage.
How to Prepare for Floods or Heavy Rain
Flash floods and heavy rain are a major threat to drivers in Houston. Low-lying lakes, rivers, creeks, and bayous easily overflow when heavy rains fall. More deaths result from floods than any other storm-related hazard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 percent of flood-related deaths occur when a vehicle is submerged in flood waters.
A flash flood can result 12 hours or less after heavy rains. Know what to do and how to manage a potentially dangerous situation before it happens:
- Choose another route if you see standing water and/or large puddles on the road. Water can hide deeper holes. Just a few inches of water can damage your engine and cost thousands to repair.
- Put your headlights on. Drive slowly in heavy rains. Use caution: poor visibility makes it difficult for others to see your vehicle. Stay alert and watch for oncoming traffic.
- Turn off the engine and turn on your vehicle’s emergency hazard lights.
- Engage the parking brake on your vehicle.
- Plan ahead for the eventuality of evacuation. Prepare alternative routes just in case.
- Brake gently and slowly in heavy rains or floods to avoid hydroplaning.
- Cover your car if you can’t get to a sheltered structure. Use blankets or specially-made car covers to protect the vehicle. Secure with duct tape.
- Buy comprehensive auto insurance coverage. Comprehensive insurance doesn’t necessarily mean all types of damage to your vehicle are covered. This specific coverage helps to pay for damage resulting from fire or weather. In most instances, your comprehensive policy will pay for hail storm damage as well.
- Buy rental car coverage. If your car is damaged in a hail storm—and about one in 10 drivers in a hail storm suffer a total loss—rental coverage will keep you on the road. This option helps to pay for a rental vehicle if your car or truck is in the body shop or needs to be replaced.
Learn more about weather warnings and weather patterns by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, local television stations and radio channels:
- Flood watch means a flood is possible.
- Flash flood watch means stay alert. When necessary, be prepared to go to higher ground.
- Flood warning means floods are already in progress or will happen soon. Evacuate immediately if advised to do so.
Visit Ready.gov to learn more about before, after, and during a heavy rain storm or flood.
What to Do If Your Vehicle Is Flooded
Preparing ahead isn’t always possible or, sometimes, even when you plan ahead, your car or truck is flooded. When this happens, call 911 and take these steps:
- Don’t attempt to start to the vehicle. Attempts to do so can cause additional damage to the vehicle’s electrical systems.
- If you’re trapped in a stalled vehicle, unbuckle your seatbelt and then instruct passengers and children to do the same.
- Keep an easily accessed car emergency kit in the vehicle.
- Roll down a window when possible. Use an umbrella or emergency escape tools to break the glass.
- Swim away from the vehicle as soon as you can. Get to safety.
- Call your insurance company right away. Arrange to have the vehicle towed as soon as possible. Have the car or truck repaired and serviced as soon as possible.
- Search for your car if you abandoned it. Visit http://towedcar.com/ to search for your vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate. Storage charges and fees may be payable to the City of Houston.
What to Do in Thunder and Lightning
Severe weather may include thunder and lightning. If this happens:
- Stay in your vehicle unless it’s possible to go inside a building or structure. You’re safer in the vehicle than exposing yourself to the elements outside. Lightning will travel through your vehicle’s metal cage and pass into the ground.
- Keep your hands in your lap. Avoid touching the radio or using a mobile device that’s connected to the vehicle. Don’t touch anything until the lightning storm has passed.
Why You Need a Reliable Vehicle in Severe Weather
The above suggestions assume you and your loved ones have a reliable vehicle on hand. Evacuation plans won’t necessarily help if your car won’t start in severe weather.
Contact Shabana Motors now to find the perfect used car in Houston. Come check out our inventory. We’ll do everything possible to get you into a reliable used car.