September 24, 2019
How to Prepare Your Car for Hurricane Season
Stay safe before, during, and after the storm.
We’re in the middle of hurricane season here in Central Florida. It officially runs from June 1st to November 30, and the peak is from mid-August to late October, according to NOAA. While you may still have your canned food and water stored away from the last hurricane, have you made sure your car is ready for the storm?
You may not know it, but your car is just as important before, during, and after a storm as any other asset.
Before the Storm
Assuming you need to evacuate before the storm, you’ll want to make sure that your car is in proper working order since you’ll likely be on the road for at least a few hundred miles. This means:
Get an oil change if you’re close to overdue (or overdue)
Test your windshield wipers and replace if they’re in bad shape
Check and replace air filters as needed
Check to make sure all your lights work
Make sure your battery is in good shape
Busy preparing for the storm? Carjoy can tune up your car while you board up your windows, shop for non-perishables, or get supplies for your hurricane party. Whatever you’ve got going on, Carjoy will handle your vehicle so you can focus on whatever needs doing.
Whether or not you evacuate, you should make sure that your car is ready should you need to leave your home in the event of an emergency. Take some time to photograph your car’s interior and exterior before the storm for potential insurance purposes.
You’ll want to fill your tank before the storm when gas stations start running out of gas. Store all important documents (including the papers you usually keep in your car) in a watertight, easy-to-transport container so that if you need to leave your home quickly, you can grab it and take it with you. Load some basic necessities into your car like food, water, clothing, and toiletries since you won’t have much time to leave. Make sure there’s enough for everyone, including your pets! If you have any questions about how to prepare for hurricanes, Ready.gov’s hurricane guide is a great place to start.
Park your car somewhere accessible but safe. If your household owns multiple cars and you can fit everything you need in one, see if your city or town is allowing citizens to park their cars in city garages. If you’re in Orlando, the city often opens its garages to the public to park their vehicles during the storm, free of charge. You can review announcements from Orlando City Government here.
During the Storm
If you’ve decided to stay home for the storm, hopefully you won’t need your vehicle. You should completely avoid driving unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you must drive, avoid flooded roads, washed-out bridges, fallen objects, downed power lines, and weakened structures such as walls, sidewalks, and roads. Keep in mind that 1 foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away, and if water gets in your undercarriage or floods into the cabin, it may destroy your car.
If you have a garage, make sure your car is parked inside and that you’re able to get it out in case you lose power. Most garage doors can be opened manually. If you don’t have a garage, avoid parking near anything that can fall during the storm such as telephone poles, tree limbs, signs, and more. Get a car cover and properly secure it to help prevent damage from debris that’s flung around by the storm’s intense winds.
After the Storm
Check your car to see if there is any damage. Take photos in case you have any damage, and consider taking your car to a mechanic to make sure there is no internal damage.
You may be without power, so you can use your car to charge any electronics or escape the heat, but make sure you do so sparingly. If you must drive, follow the tips above and avoid any dangerous situations. Always follow local laws, like curfews. You may be bored from being cooped up at home with no power or internet, but safety officials need to be able to work without interruption to get everything back into working order.
Stock up on books at the library or get some new board games before the storm. You can even download Netflix shows on a tablet to watch when you don’t have internet – just make sure you have a fully-charged power bank. Try not to use your cell phone in case you need it for an emergency. You can use text messages or social media to communicate with friends and family if phone systems are still up.
Above all, make sure you make good decisions during a storm. As Floridians, we tend to joke around and have hurricane parties with our friends, but please use your best judgement, especially during powerful storms. Prepare your house and your family, and make sure you take care of your car so it can take care of you.