Driving and Faced with an Earthquake – What do you do?

Rush Hour Traffic

Driving during an Earthquake is something we don’t often think about – but what would you do if caught in that situation?  Would you even know there had been an earthquake?  Would you feel the shaking as you are driving?

Rush Hour TrafficIf it were a small earthquake, less than a magnitude three earthquake, you would likely not even know the quake had occurred. If the earthquake was a higher magnitude, then you very well might feel the ground shake.  Often people who have been in their vehicles during a significant earthquake say it feels like the car has four flat tires.

If you are driving and it feels like you have 4-flat tires – what do you do?

At home or work, we Drop, Cover and Hold On when we feel the earth start to move, but what about when driving – what do we do?  The best advice is to pull over to the side of the road when safe to do so, turn off your car’s engine and put the hand-break on. Try not to stop under bridges or overpasses, power lines or any other hazard that could impact you and your car.

Even if the road you are driving on looks safe – turn on your radio to get the latest news reports.  You don’t know what lies ahead.

Roads and bridges may be impacted, and you could be putting yourself, your family and pets in danger. Once you know what lies ahead, you can then decide how to best proceed.

If you must get out of your car, take a look around to make sure it is safe to get out. If you see downed power lines DO NOT get out of your vehicle – wait for assistance – you could be putting yourself in greater danger.  Check with your local Hydro company on what to do around downed power lines. It could save your life!

Panic on faces of people in carIf it is safe to drive on – go cautiously.  With an earthquake, there is always the chance of aftershocks, which could cause damage.  As you proceed down the road, watch for large cracks – if you see cracks don’t attempt to maneuver around – you could be putting yourself in greater danger.

If the road has been flooded, DO NOT drive through the floodwater.  You don’t know what is in the water.Flooded road

If you are in an area where you could be affected by a Tsunami, immediately go to higher ground to protect yourself and your family from the Tsunami.

Keep an Emergency Kit in your car with necessary supplies you, your family and pets may require in the aftermath.  You could be stuck for some time, depending on the situation. A few bottles of water and a few granola bars would be a welcome sight.

Always follow the advice of the authorities who may be on site.  They are in contact with other agencies receiving updated info.

Your Key Message is “Disaster can happen, and they do happen.”  What are you going to do to get you, your family, and pets ready for a disaster?  It could be an earthquake; it could be a flood or fire. We don’t know – but what we do know is – families who are prepared will better survive whatever disaster comes their way.

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Stay Safe!

Jackie Kloosterboer