What Should You Do if Caught in Severe Storm Conditions?
As air temperatures rise, more ocean water evaporates into the atmosphere, resulting in more intense storms. Be aware of these potential risks when you're on the road.
Hail – hail can cause significant damage to your vehicle – denting the body or cracking the windshield and windows
Lightning – while rare, a direct lightning strike on your car could cause electrical damage; also, a nearby lightning strike can down trees, utility poles, or power lines, striking your vehicle or obstructing your path
Poor traction – more water on the road surface makes it harder for your vehicle's tires to displace it; it can take up to three times longer to brake on a wet surface than on a dry one
Puddles, flooding – sewer drains are often overwhelmed during a severe rainstorm, creating large pools of standing water and even flooding
Reduced visibility – rain, especially heavy rain, will drastically decrease your visibility
Wind – strong winds might make it harder to steer. Watch for windswept objects like falling tree branches that could blow on the road or hit your vehicle
How to Protect Yourself
Stay updated – keep current with the weather forecast and plan any driving accordingly
Don't drive – if there is a pending severe thunderstorm, try to avoid driving in it
Pull over – if you're caught in a thunderstorm, especially with high winds. Look for a safe area to pull over — such as a parking lot — until it passes
Park car – turn on your hazard lights and apply the parking brake; look for covered parking if it begins to hail
Slow down – reduce your speed until you locate an area to ride out the storm safely if you can't find a place to park
Distance yourself – keep right to allow other cars to pass and increase the space between your vehicle and those ahead of you (doubling the "three-second" rule) to allow more time for braking
Headlights on – use your low beams for better road visibility so other drivers can see you, even in the daytime
Don't cruise – using cruise control can increase your chances of hydroplaning
Stay calm – take deep breaths to slow down your heart rate and blood pressure; playing soothing music can help
NJM Insurance Group’s Commitment to Safety
NJM’s enduring commitment to safety can be traced back to our earliest days — with a focus that has expanded from improving conditions in manufacturing facilities to helping keep customers safe on the roads and at home. NJM is a leader in personal and commercial auto, homeowners, and workers’ compensation insurance.
Jeff Youngs, “Safety Tips For Driving In Bad Weather,” https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/safety-tips-for-driving-in-bad-weather, (April 18, 2019).
Rita Colorito, “Driving Safely in Sudden Extreme Conditions,” Driving Safely in Sudden Extreme Conditions, (August 12, 2014).