South Florida

Hitting the road for Labor Day weekend? Hurricane Dorian may get in the way

Hurricane Dorian update: Storm gaining strength as it heads to Florida

Ken Graham of the National Hurricane Center talks about Dorian's track and the impact expected for states on the east coast for Labor Day weekend.
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Ken Graham of the National Hurricane Center talks about Dorian's track and the impact expected for states on the east coast for Labor Day weekend.

Do you have plans to take a road trip for Labor Day weekend?

Well, Hurricane Dorian may be a bit of a speed bump.

AAA Autoclub is telling potential travelers “to adjust plans based on advice from local authorities.”

“Dorian has the potential to cause flight cancellations, altered cruise itineraries, and extremely hazardous conditions on the road,” Mark Jenkins, a AAA spokesman, said in a news release. “AAA urges travelers to monitor weather reports closely and follow the advice of authorities.”

AAA also cautions travelers to keep in mind that just because a storm is forecast to hit one area, it doesn’t mean there won’t be effects throughout the state.

“Those planning a road trip should plan ahead and make arrangements to be off the road if and when severe weather strikes,” Jenkins said.

Here are some handy tips from AAA:

Prepare your vehicle

It never hurts to get a mechanic to check if a vehicle is safe for inclement weather including a car’s brakes.

Check windshield wipers and replace inserts that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe.

All headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals should be working properly.

Before heading out in wet weather, it’s important to make sure a vehicles tires are in good shape including tread and tire pressure. Make sure there is an inflated spare just in case.

Pack an emergency kit including a mobile phone and car charger, flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, drinking water, extra snacks/food for your travelers and pets, battery booster cables and emergency flares or reflectors.

Dorian was expected to become a major hurricane on August 30, before making its way to Florida on Labor Day weekend. A hurricane watch was issued for the Bahamas.

Driving in the Rain

Always check weather reports before heading out.

Be prepared to have a longer drive time.

Headlights should be turned on, but hazard lights should be off. High beams should also be avoided.

Watch your speed to avoid hydroplaning. Wet roads can cause problems even with speeds as low as 35 mph, AAA said.

It’s best to avoid using cruise control in inclement weather because it can increase the risk of hydroplaning.

Leave enough room in between cars and begin slowing down early when approaching intersections or stops.

If you can barely see when you are driving, pull over on the side of the road and put on your flashers.

If traffic lights are not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

Flooded Streets

Always try to avoid standing water.

If your car stops in standing water, don’t try to restart it. That can cause more damage, AAA says.

If your car stops in standing water, get out and seek higher ground.

Strong Winds

If a strong gust hits as you are driving, firmly grip the steering wheel.

Create a bigger distance between your vehicle and other cars, especially vans, recreational vehicles and cars pulling trailers. These may be adversely affected by the wind.

Only drive in high winds when absolutely necessary.

Visit AAA.com/Hurricane for more tips — including pre- and post-storm checklists.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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