Hurricane Season: Tips for Safe Driving in a Hurricane

SUV drives through floodwaters left from a hurricane.The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. Each year, this six-month period officially lasts from June 1st to November 30th, with peak hurricane activity typically occurring in September. While these hurricanes and tropical storms pose the biggest threat to states along the Gulf Coast, Massachusetts is still susceptible. The Commonwealth oftentimes deals with the residual effects of these southern and coastal storms, like torrential rain, intense winds, and flooding—all of which can make a real mess of the roads. Here are some steps you can take for safe driving in a hurricane or hurricane-like conditions.

Avoid Driving Altogether if Possible

The first thing to note about driving in a hurricane is that you shouldn’t do it if you don’t have to. This rule of thumb applies to any severe weather conditions. Just as you would in a blizzard or ice storm, ask yourself if you really need to be driving or if it’s something that can wait. If you don’t absolutely have to be out on the roads, you’re better off avoiding the risk outright. Rain and wind can be just as much of a threat as snow and ice.

Tips for Driving in Heavy Rain, Gusty Winds, and Flood Conditions

  • Pack your patience and drive slower. It might go without saying, but you’ll need to reduce your speed when driving in storm conditions. Doing so will help lower your risk of losing control of the vehicle and may help prevent you from hydroplaning.
  • Increase your following distance from the car in front of you. Always give yourself extra buffer room in between vehicles in case you need to come to a sudden stop or the rain impacts your braking ability.
  • Pump your brakes regularly. Driving through water wets your brakes, thus decreasing the car’s stopping power. Gently pump your brakes from time to time during the commute to test that they’re working and to help them dry off quicker.
  • Never drive through high water or deep puddles. Not only is it easy for cars to be swept off the road in even a foot of moving water, but driving through this much water can also cause severe damage to your vehicle. It can stall your engine, leaving you stuck and with pricey—or potentially irreparable—problems. If you come across high water on the road, stop and seek out an alternate route.
  • Be vigilant around larger vehicles. Tractor trailers are especially prone to having difficulty staying in their lanes during high winds. You should also beware of spots where winds are typically strongest, like bridges, overpasses, and wide-open areas.
  • Keep an eye out for hazards on the road. Downed electrical wires, fallen trees, scattered debris, and other people or cars are all things you might encounter on your route. Stay alert and keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel so you can react appropriately.

Of course, hurricanes and tropical storms won’t only affect your car drives. If you want to ensure you’re prepared for all their potential threats, check out our blog, Hurricane Season: Flood Preparation and Recovery Tips, and our whitepaper, What is Hurricane Insurance?

Here at TJ Woods Insurance, we’re committed to making sure Central Massachusetts drivers are prepared for anything the unpredictable New England weather throws their way. Be it torrential rain, heavy snow, dense fog, or even driving in a hurricane, weather conditions can cause all kinds of serious dangers on the road. Though we can’t control the forecast, we can control your accident preparedness. No matter what mother nature brings, you want peace of mind knowing your auto insurance policy has you covered. Give us a call today at (508) 755-5944 or contact us online to discuss which policy is right for you.