Fill up, park in a safe spot

05/27/2009 3:01 AM

05/28/2009 1:33 PM

BEFORE THE STORM

 Keep vehicle in a garage or carport, if available. Otherwise, park close to the building on the side away from the wind. Vans and semi-trailers can be blown over if they are exposed to the full force of the winds.

 Two-car families could park one car in a public garage and the other at home. Be aware that high water and closed roads may make it impossible for you to retrieve your car immediately after the storm. There is usually little glass in parking garages, but if the sides are open, debris and water could damage your car.

 Fill fuel tank, if possible. Fuel might not be available for days after the storm.

 Ensure battery is fully charged. Dampness after the storm might make the vehicle difficult to start. In an extreme emergency, a car radio may be your only source of information.

 If the vehicle is located near the beach, tape old blankets or sheets over the windows to prevent blowing sand from pitting them. Fully tape to ensure wind does not get under the covering, and remove tape immediately after the storm to avoid leaving marks on the vehicle.

 Do not park near a tree that might fall on or break branches over your vehicle.

 Do not park near power lines that might fall on your vehicle.

 Do not park between two buildings close to each otherM as wind may funnel through these areas.

DURING THE STORM

 Do not go sightseeing in your vehicle during the storm as your vehicle may become stuck in the sand on beach roads or stalled by flooding in the streets.

AFTER THE STORM

 Do not start your car if water rose to a level where it made contact with the engine, according to the American Automobile Association. Replace all fluids and have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic. Remember, your car might run, but the water can affect features such as air bags and electronic equipment.

 Avoid driving through standing water. The average car can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water.

 If there is no electricity, disengage your electric garage door. All garage door openers have an emergency disconnect -- a small cord hanging from the mechanism at the top of the door. Pull the cord and it disengages the motor.

 Do not go sightseeing in your vehicle after the storm as this may impede recovery efforts.

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