How to Prepare Your Car for Inclement Weather
Hurricane season is upon us, and will be through the end of November. It can be a stressful time of year depending on where you live, as tropical storms and hurricanes bring the threat of personal danger as well as property damage. With that in mind, we have some tips to protect your car from potential torrential rain and gale-force winds.
Take stock before the storm
It can be helpful to take an inventory (and pictures) of your car’s condition before the inclement weather hits. These can be used after the fact for insurance purposes, so make sure you get photos of the interior and exterior.
Fill ‘er up
While you’re taking stock of your vehicle, check your gas level—you’ll want to be sure to fill up your tank before the weather gets too intense. If you need to evacuate, it will likely be difficult to get to a gas station, and you might be sitting in long lines of traffic on the way out of town. If you have an extra gas canister, fill that up too while you’re at it!
Waterproof the important stuff
Put copies of your insurance information and your car’s registration in a sealable plastic bag—this will keep these important documents dry in case your car gets waterlogged. If possible, make extra copies and keep them in your home or another safe place.
Make a roadside emergency kit
Take a cue from the Boy Scouts on this one—always be prepared. Make sure your trunk is filled with things you might need for your car in an emergency, such as: jumper cables, a tire jack, flashlights & radios (with batteries!), a tool kit, and that extra canister of gas we mentioned earlier. Also, be sure to include things for you and your loved ones in case of an emergency, like blankets and a first aid kit.
Park Somewhere Safe
If your home has a garage, now is the time to use it since it’s best if your vehicle is sheltered from the direct rain and wind (we recommend backing in so you can make a quick exit if necessary). However, if you don’t have access to a garage, parking your car close to a building is the next best option since it will offer some protection from high winds. No sturdy buildings around? Try to park your car away from power lines, light poles, and trees—or anything else that could fall on your car and cause damage.
Make a Game Plan
Keep a close eye on the forecast so you know when the storm is expected to reach your area. Be informed of emergency evacuation routes for your area, and make sure you and your loved ones are all on the same page. Designate two emergency meeting areas, as the Red Cross recommends: one near your house, and one farther away in case you are evacuated.
Hurricanes and other acts of nature can be frightening because of our lack of control over the damage they can cause. But by being informed and taking the necessary steps to prepare, we can make ourselves as ready as possible to weather the storm.