With the summer season kicking off, storms will be increasing in number and in severity. When a severe storm is passing through the area, it is important that you keep yourself safe and out of harm’s way. One of the most dangerous activities during a storm to partake in is driving.
Check out these safety tips for driving during summer storm season and talk to us today about how proper car maintenance can help keep you safe on the road. Stop by one of our auto shops here in the Denver Metro area today for assistance.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Prepared
The boy scouts have it right, being prepared should be your top priority. Instead of waiting until you find yourself staring down mother nature’s fury, uncertain of what to do, make sure you prepare ahead of time for bad weather. Here in Colorado, a beautiful sunny day might turn into a massive afternoon thunderstorm, so never assume what the weather will do based off of the morning. This is particularly true if you are heading into the mountains. The weather in the Rockies changes rapidly and things can become dangerous quickly if you are not prepared.
To make sure you are ready for summer storms, take the time to make sure you have the following items on hand:
- Working windshield wipers: Inspect your vehicle’s windshield wipers to ensure they are operating properly. If they are damaged, or the rubber on them is cracking, it may be time to replace them. If they are inoperable, it is time to take your car in to have them repaired.
- Good tires: Are you driving around on bald, worn-out tires? If so, make sure you get them replaced before heading out into the summer storms. Bald tires will make hydroplaning a much greater risk, putting you in danger of a serious crash. Invest in a new set of summer tires to prevent this from occurring.
- A charged phone: Ensure your cell phone has enough battery power to get you through your drive just in case you need to call for help or check up on weather warnings.
- Bottles of water: Hopefully you won’t end up in a storm that leaves your vehicle inoperable and you stranded but, just in case, make sure you have some bottles of water stashed in your car.
Listen to Warnings
Thankfully here in the United States, we have an extremely good weather warning system. The National Weather Service (NWS) has locations spanning the country and they provide constant monitoring of the weather. Not only do they issue watches and warnings, they also provide information from a network of weather spotters, which allows for updated, real-life information about the weather.
Whether you utilize a weather app on your phone or tune into a local radio station while you are driving, make sure you heed the warnings issued. Some of the most common watches and warnings include the following:
- Severe thunderstorm watch: On a day where the weather conditions look favorable for severe storms, the NWS will issue a watch over a large area. This means that there is a high chance of storms forming in that region at some point in the day. If a severe thunderstorm watch is issued for the area, keep your phone or a radio nearby and monitor the weather throughout the day.
- Flash flood watch: If a flash flood watch has been issued, it means the conditions indicate the chance for heavy rainfall at some point during the watch time frame. Make sure you keep up to date on weather conditions before driving when a flash flood watch has been issued.
- Tornado watch: As with the above two watches, a tornado watch means that meteorologists see indications in the atmosphere that the storms that form throughout the day will have the potential to produce tornadoes. While a watch doesn’t require immediate action, it should cause you to pay more attention throughout the day to the weather.
- Severe thunderstorm warning: When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, it means that there is a storm in the area that is producing winds of 58 mph or higher and/or hail that is one inch in diameter or larger. When you hear a severe thunderstorm warning, use a weather app or computer to figure out where the severe storm is located and what trajectory it is on. Driving through a severe thunderstorm can be extremely dangerous due to high winds, hail, and heavy rainfall. If at all possible, avoid the thunderstorm or wait it out before hitting the road.
- Flash flood warning: This warning indicates that flash flooding is currently happening or imminent. When you hear a flash flood warning has been issued for the area, avoid driving if at all possible. If you are already on the road, be extremely cautious and keep your eye out for flooded roadways. Stay away from low lying roads near creeks and rivers.
- Tornado warning: The moment you hear a tornado warning issued, you should take action right away. A tornado warning indicates that a tornado has been spotted on the ground or detected through radar. Never try to drive through a tornado warned storm and seek out safe shelter as quickly as possible. Wait for the tornado warned cell to pass before you leave shelter or get back on the road. A car is one of the most dangerous places to be during a tornado as the high winds can easily toss vehicles through the air.
By following these simple tips, you can help keep yourself safe on the road. Tune in to our next blog to learn more about how you can stay safe this summer when driving through storms.
Remember, a properly maintained car is the safest vehicle to be in when mother nature’s fury strikes. And better performance is only a call away with Urban Autocare! Call to schedule service for your import vehicle — we have three auto shops in Denver, Littleton, and Lakewood.