• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

How to Drive Safely During an Earthquake

ByElla E. Kidwell

Aug 1, 2022

If you live in an earthquake-prone area, it’s important to know how to stay safe while driving when the ground starts to shake. You may not feel a small earthquake in a moving car. But if you do, it’s likely to be large enough that you need to exercise caution. Here’s what you can do to drive safely during an earthquake.

What to do in case of an earthquake while driving?

A car was destroyed by the rubble of a building after an earthquake. | Damir SENCAR / AFP

The key to driving during an earthquake is not to drive at all. If you notice cars around you suddenly stopping and people coming out of buildings, it’s time to slow down your car and pull over. Here are some other tips Jerry, a car insurance website, recommends for staying safe during an earthquake:

  • Stop in a safe place: If you are driving and notice the car shaking, park in a safe place on the side of the road, if possible. If this is not possible, stop the car where you are for as long as it is safe.
  • Make sure you don’t block the road: If you can’t stop the car from the side, make sure you’re not blocking traffic.
  • Stop the engine: After parking the car, immediately turn off the engine.
  • Stay inside the car: Stay in the car and cover your head until the earthquake is over.
  • Keep the radio on: Turn on your car radio so you can follow the instructions of any emergency services official.
  • DRIVE SLOWLY: Do it slowly when you can safely get away.
  • Call 911: If a power line has fallen on your car, call 911.

After driving away from where you were standing, you can anticipate that there will be traffic light outages. In this case, it is important to treat each intersection as a four-way stop. Also pay attention to visible damage to bridges and overpasses.

Create an earthquake survival kit

A man looks inside a destroyed car after an earthquake.
A man looks inside a destroyed car after an earthquake. | Carl Court/Getty Images

If you get caught in an earthquake while driving, an earthquake survival kit can be useful. Luckily, you can build a survival kit at home and put it in the trunk of your car for extra peace of mind. Start assembling the kit using a large container that won’t take up too much space in your car. After purchasing the container, AAA recommends adding the following items to it:

  • Bottles of water
  • Energy bars or granola
  • A foghorn or type of noise-making device
  • A flashlight
  • A first aid kit
  • Coverage

Remember to stay away from power lines and fallen trees

Cars on a damaged bridge after an earthquake.
Cars on a damaged bridge after an earthquake. | Getty Images

If you leave your car after an earthquake has subsided, it’s important to stay clear of fallen trees and power lines. Aftershocks can still occur after a major earthquake, which can cause even more damage to buildings and other facilities around you.

It is important to stay safe during an earthquake, even when driving your car. The best thing to do is stop the car, turn it off, and stay there until it’s safe to drive or get out if necessary.

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