Preparedness, Awareness, & Common Sense are Your Best Protections while Driving in Chicago-Area Severe Summer Weather ...
While riding home from the City yesterday, we got deluged with rain. A
storm blew up suddenly and the rain was accompanied by ominous dark
clouds and high gusts of wind. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning had been issued for our County and surrounding counties for the entire night.
This year's already been full of weather warnings in the Chicagoland area. The past winter was a bugger and it seemed to last forever.
Spring's warmer weather has finally arrived. But in the Midwest, (and many other areas of the U.S.) that means the potential for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flooding arrives too.
In the Chicago area, the highways are often jam-packed. That was the case yesterday. And it got me thinking ...
"What if a storms' winds, flooding, hail, or even a tornado occurs while we're in our car? What should I do? How do I protect us?"
So, I did a little investigating today. This is the information I found:
If the car is moving:
- Tune in to your car's radio to get the latest weather info. Stay informed of the weather's movement and path
- Make sure your vehicle's headlights are on
- Slow down!
- Don't be distracted by your cell. Stay alert .. turn the phone off!
- Be aware of all the vehicles around you. High winds are especially problematic for larger vehicles such as RVs, Semi, Campers, Trailers, Buses, etc.
- Allow extra distance for braking on wet roads
- Approach and navigate intersections with extreme caution. Be prepared to come to a full stop
- Don't try to drive through flooded areas
If hail is involved:
- When possible, pull into a shelter for protection from the damaging hail
- Follow the advice for severe thunderstorms
- Do NOT try to out-run the tornado
- If the tornado is imminent, seek immediate shelter out of the car, if possible
- If immediate shelter is not available, get out of your car and lie-down in a ditch. A tornado can quickly turn you vehicle into a flying object
- Don't try to drive through flooded areas. Find an alternative route
- Remember: Water that appears shallow can be misleading. The water may hide damage to the road beneath it ... or the road may have been completely washed away
- 6 inches of water reaches the bottom of most passenger cars .. and can cause stalling of your vehicle's engine
- 1 foot of water can float almost any vehicle on the road
- 2 feet of water will virtually sweep cars off the road .. even the big rigs, pick-ups, SUV's, etc.
- Leave your vehicle and head for higher ground, if need be
Preparedness, awareness, and common sense are your best protections while driving in Chicago-area severe summer weather. Be alert and watchful, listen for weather updates, and be ready and willing to react quickly when bad weather and emergencies occur.
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