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In your car when severe weather hits? Here’s what you need to know, AAA says

OKLAHOMA CITY – During severe weather in Oklahoma, storms can strike at any time, and some people may be caught on the road when it happens.

AAA is offering drivers advice on how to stay safe if you’re caught on the road during severe weather.

Heavy Rain and Flooding

  • Turn around, don’t drown. Avoid driving in floodwater.
  • If visibility is severely limited during heavy rain, drivers should reduce their speed and if they can safely do so, pull off the road out of traffic lanes, turn on flashing hazard lights, and wait until the rain lightens.
  • If windshield wipers are on, headlights should be as well.
  • Pooling water on roadways can cause hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control, so motorists should reduce their speeds during rainy conditions. Roadways completely covered by water are a particular danger.

Hail

  • To protect your car from the inevitable Oklahoma hail storms, park your car in a covered spot whenever possible.
  • If you’re in your car when a hailstorm hits and see a safe place close-by, such as a highway overpass or gas station or bank awning, drive to it as soon as you can.
  • DO NOT PARK UNDER AN OVERPASS. This can cause congestion and wrecks as drivers seek very limited shelter.
  • If no shelter is available and hail becomes large enough to cause damage, stop driving and pull off the road completely. Move away from car windows and cover your head with your arms and hands to protect yourself from any breaking glass.

Lightning

  • If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, seek shelter in a hard-topped vehicle, or a low area, such as a tunnel. If you are already in your car when a lightning storm begins, stay in the vehicle for shelter, but steer clear of fences, isolated trees, telephone poles, power lines and pipelines.

Tornadoes

  • If a tornado has been sighted, move to the safest place possible.
  • “If you are in your car and a tornado is close, abandon the vehicle and seek shelter in a sturdy structure,” Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson, said. “If no structure is nearby, seek shelter in the nearest ditch. Lie flat, face-down on the ground, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from trees and cars.”

Drivers should keep an emergency preparedness kit to carry in their cars. It should include items such as nonperishable food/snacks and water, tool kit, flashlight, hand-crank or battery-powered radio, extra batteries, cell phone and charger, first-aid supplies, flares or reflectors, raincoat or poncho, a towel or blanket, and rain boots or an extra pair of shoes.

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