- The majority of hurricanes are seen between mid-August and mid-October.
- There have been seven named storms to date in 2018.
- Scientists predict 14 named storms before hurricane season ends.
If you live in an area that is as prone to hurricanes as Florida is, you already know the importance of preparation. You have been taught to board your windows, move your outdoor furniture inside and evacuate when ordered to do so.
Many people forget to take care of one important detail: Their vehicles. If you choose not to evacuate, you’ll need to make sure your car is protected. If you do evacuate and leave a vehicle behind, you will want to take steps to make sure it is as good as condition as possible upon your return.
As Pensacola car accident attorneys, we want to be sure that everyone has taken appropriate action when it comes to their vehicles.
1. Gather Paperwork
Most tips you will read involving hurricane preparedness tell you to make copies of important documents and store them safely. The listed documents most often include your driver’s license, birth certificate and Social Security card. Rarely will you see a list that includes your vehicle’s documents.
Make a copy of your vehicle’s registration and your insurance card if you don’t store it in your phone. Put the documents in a freezer bag and place them in a safe place within your home. You may also want to make an extra copy for any driver in your home, along with a spare key and fob.
2. Take Lots of Pictures
This is especially important if you are leaving your vehicle behind. Take pictures of your vehicle’s exterior and interior before you leave. You will want to have proof of its condition before the storm hits, should it become damaged and you file an insurance claim.
You can’t take too many pictures. Try to get several from every angle, both close up and from a normal distance. Some of the most important pictures you can take are of the windows, hood, roof and top of the trunk.
3. Empty It Out
A lot of us store more in our vehicle than we think we do. Take some time to go through your car and clean it out. If your vehicle is severely damaged, you may not be able to retrieve items from inside it. In the worst cases, the things inside will be damaged or destroyed along with your car.
As terrible as it is to say, some areas experience looting during and after a storm. You don’t want your possessions taken from you. Empty out your glovebox, the trunk, and all those holders in your doors. If you find things that need to stay in your car, put them in a tote and put them back where they belong after the storm has passed.
4. Think About Where You Park
Shelter your vehicle any way you can so that it can ride out the storm safely. If you have a garage, put your car inside and make sure you board any of the building’s windows. If you don’t have a garage, park your car as close to your house as you can. The structure of your home will help to protect your vehicle from some wind and rain damage.
No matter where you park our vehicle, make sure it isn’t near any large trees or under power lines. Any of these things can topple during a hurricane and land right on top of your vehicle.
5. Get Gas
We’ve all seen pictures of gas stations on the news prior to a hurricane. Vehicles are lined up for what seems like miles as drivers fight to fill up their tanks. Don’t wait until the last minute.
As soon as you know a hurricane is imminent, head to the gas station and top off your tank. If you have to evacuate, you’ll be in a better place. You don’t want to find that you need to move quickly and don’t have enough gas to do so.
6. Check It Out
When the storm is over and you are able to return home, take some time to thoroughly inspect your vehicle. You’ll want to determine its condition before you call your insurance agency.
Take pictures from the same angles that you took before the storm hit. You don’t have to, but if you have time, put them side-by-side for a before and after effect.
Remember that being allowed to return home doesn’t meant that it is safe to travel through your city or town. If you chose to ride out the storm, not having experienced severe damage to your home doesn’t mean streets aren’t flooded.
When you have checked on the condition of your family, your home, and your vehicles, be sure to look at local news reports (if you have electricity) and heed their advice regarding driving. It takes very little water to lift your car off its tires, and if you get stranded, you could very well be putting your life and the lives of others in danger.
Our Pensacola Car Accident Lawyers are Here for You
Sometimes the worst things during a hurricane aren’t wind and rain, but the accidents that occur because of negligence, error or poor decision making. If you are involved in an collision, you need a Pensacola car accident attorney to assist you.
Call our office to schedule your free case evaluation and discover how we can help. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses, and we will fight for your rights.