Tropical Storm Arthur headed to Virginia: Safe travel tips

storm-clouds-headerA tropical storm is churning in the Atlantic and timing could not be worse for the over 1 million (1,158,038) holiday travelers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  AAA Mid-Atlantic warns motorists to take extra precautions before leaving for that all American road-trip this weekend.

“Hurricane season is upon us and drivers are cautioned to keep a watchful eye on road conditions before leaving home for the holiday weekend,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Heavy rain and gusty winds are expected late Thursday evening into Friday which could lead to hazardous road conditions and major traffic delays.  If motorists must get on the road, it is important that they take steps to see and be seen in these conditions.”

Likewise, tropical storms and hurricanes can cause significant property damage at home.  AAA is advising everyone to take the following actions before, during and after the storm:

 

BEFORE THE STORMDURING THE STORMAFTER THE STORM
Fill cars with a full tank of gas.Heed all warnings from emergency officials.Check your vehicle for dents and broken or cracked glass.
Clear windshields and windows on the inside and outside.  Replace windshield wipers if necessary.Do not attempt to drive on closed roads or into evacuated areas.Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle, home, or other property and contact your insurance agent.
Check tires to be sure they are inflated properly.Use headlights while windshield wipers are in use, not just because it is safe, but because it is the law in Virginia.If your vehicle has been flooded, contact a qualified automotive technician before attempt to start your car.
Test to make sure all lights are working properly.Increase following distance from 2-3 seconds to 8 seconds or more while driving in adverse road conditions.  While driving, look farther down the road than normal to anticipate changes and adjust accordinglyWhen you arrive home:Check trees, shrubs, and plants.  If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility your roof may also be damaged.  Also check for roof damage if patio covers, screens or soft aluminum roof vents are dented.
Remove excess items from the car and trunk.See and be seen by using low-beam head lights. Remember to also turn on the defroster if the windows fog in the car.File a claim with your insurance company and do so as soon as possible.  The earlier you file an insurance claim, the faster it can be processed.
Carry Emergency Roadside Kit:Flashlights with extra batteries

Reflective triangles

Fire extinguisher

Battery booster/jumper cables

First aid kit

Rain gear/extra clothing

Bottle water and non-perishable snacks/food

Pocket knife

Watch for falling debris and downed wires on the roadway.  If in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed power line, the best rule is to stay there until help arrives.  If there is imminent danger, such as afire, stand on the door frame/edge of the vehicle and jump clear with both feet at the same time.  Do not make contact with anything on the vehicle so that your body does not become a pathway for electricity to reach the earth.Minor repairs may be necessary due to storm damage that can prevent further damage to your property, like fixing broken windows or making temporary repairs.  For permanent storm damage repairs, wait until your insurance company has examined the property.  Be certain not to throw away any storm damaged property until the claims adjuster inspects it.
Review maps and plan evacuation route.Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles must remember they are not immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces.  Four-wheel drive cars are just as likely to lose traction on wet roads as any other vehicle.If temporary repairs are made prior to your claims adjuster inspecting your home or auto, be sure to save all receipts and keep a record of all temporary repair expenses.
Charge all cell phones and have a cell phone car charger as a back-up.Stay alert to high wind conditions.  Be sure to give larger trucks plenty of room as they can be affected by high and gusty winds.
Check road conditions in Virginia by dialing 511 before leaving home.Do not attempt to cross standing water on the road.  It only takes six inches of water to lose control of a vehicle and two feet can carry most cars away.  Try to avoid bridges and roads known to flood.
Designate an emergency contact person that is not traveling with you that can who can serve as a central information gatherer for family members in a hurricane zone.If forced to stop in traffic due to poor visibility, turn on emergency flashers and immediately pull as far off the road as possible.




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