Keeping Vehicles Safe During Hurricanes

Terry Heilbron at Bermuda’s HWP Group provided the checklist below for keeping vehicles as safe as possible during a hurricane.

After Hurricane Fabian, Sept. 5, 2003

After Hurricane Fabian, Sept. 5, 2003

  • Take a look at your vehicle to determine what may need to be done to keep it in good working order after the storm—when you’re likely to need it. Check your lights and brakes. Ensure your tyres have sufficient air pressure. Top up all vehicle fluids. Also, don’t forget to fill your car with gas.
  • In the immediate lead up to the storm, store your vehicle in a garage to prevent it from being damaged by debris or fallen trees/electricity poles. If you do not have an enclosed garage at your home, you might consider parking your vehicle in a public car park such as Bull’s Head. The cement structure is likely to keep your vehicle safe in a severe storm.
  • If you do leave your vehicle outside, make sure that you do not park near trees or electricity poles. Watch out especially for Casuarinas—shallow-rooted trees, which can be easily uprooted during a storm—and Norfolk Pines, whose branches break easily and can damage your vehicle.
  • Park away from land that is liable to flood, and try to locate a lee for your vehicle to keep it safe from high winds—that means finding a place sheltered from the wind by some sort of natural obstruction (wall or rock face, for example). If your car is exposed to the natural elements, try to park the vehicle with its rear-end to the wind. This prevents salt, sand and debris from getting under the hood and into your engine.
  • If you are planning to leave the island, don’t leave your car at the airport. During Hurricane Fabian, many vehicles that had been parked at the airport were destroyed due to flooding and damage to the airport itself.
  • Finally, once the storm passes, do a careful check of your vehicle and the surrounding area to see if there is any damage and to see whether there are any branches or debris nearby requiring removal before you try to drive anywhere.