MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Hurricane Matthew’s projected path has caused Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in all 67 counties in Florida. The storm will bring heavy rains and strong winds, which create dangerous driving conditions, with little to no visibility. AAA urges motorists to heed official warnings and stay off the roads, if possible.
AAA offers the following safety tips:
- Check traffic and weather conditions before heading out.
- Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle, which includes a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; mobile phone and car charger; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.
- Have a full tank of gas.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Rainy conditions can cause low visibility: Turn on your headlights to help you see better and to allow other motorists to spot you better. Avoid using your high beams because you could blind other drivers and the extra light will reflect off the rain, causing more of a distraction for you.
- If you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance while driving during wet weather, pull of the road as far as you can and wait for the rain to ease up. Make sure to turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
- Avoid standing water and flooded roads at all times. There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road and driving through it can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle from:
- Flooding the engine
- Warping brake rotors
- Loss of power steering
- Short in electrical components
- If your vehicle stalls in a flooded area, do not remain in the car. Abandon it as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Flood waters can elevate quickly, sweeping away the vehicle and its occupants.
Tips for Driving Safely in Strong Winds
- Anticipate gusts – Pay attention when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports forecast severe weather.
- Firmly grip the steering wheel. Know your vehicle, light cars, vans and other “boxy” vehicles are more likely to be blown by strong gusts of wind.
- Increase space between your vehicle and other motorists, especially vans, recreational vehicles and cars pulling trailers which may be adversely affected by the wind.
- Drive in these conditions only when absolutely necessary.
- Click here for ways to prepare yourself for an impending storm from the CBSMiami.com Hurricane Preps page
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