Driving During An Earthquake
If you live in an earthquake-prone area, there is a chance you could be driving when an earthquake hits. If one does start while you’re on the road, you’ll need to be careful of different hazards. These safety tips can help you be prepared for driving during an earthquake and immediately afterward.
The Frequency of Earthquakes
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), around 55 earthquakes strike every day. Most are minor, but the USGS expects that roughly 16 major earthquakes may occur in any given year.
The USGS reports that California and Alaska are the most earthquake-prone states in the U.S. However, many other states are likely to experience earthquake damage. If you want to know whether you live in one of these areas, the USGS has compiled information for each state.
Preparing an Earthquake Road Kit
If you live in an earthquake-prone area, the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you keep a few essential items in your car, such as:
- First-aid kit
- Bottled water
- New batteries
- Dried or canned food with a can opener
- Fire extinguisher
- Local map
Earthquake While Driving: What to Do on the Road
If you suspect an earthquake has struck while you’re driving, stay alert for risks like cracked roads, distracted drivers, stopped cars, damaged overpasses and downed power lines. These hazards often result from an earthquake.
If you are in the car when an earthquake strikes, the American Red Cross suggests that you:
- Slow down until you can safely pull over to the side of the road.
- Avoid parking near overpasses, power lines and other hazards.
- Stay in your car with your seat belt on until the earthquake is over.
Driving After an Earthquake
It’s important to drive even more cautiously than usual after the initial shaking stops. You won’t immediately know what damage has been done or if aftershocks are likely.
If the earthquake knocked the power out, traffic lights may not work. It’s important that you know your local right-of-way rules so you know how to safely proceed through intersections if the traffic signals are out.
Comprehensive Coverage for Natural Disasters
Comprehensive coverage may help if your car is damaged by an earthquake or other natural disaster. Review your policy or talk to an agent about how comprehensive coverage can help if your car is damaged during an earthquake.
Hopefully you’ll never be on the road when an earthquake strikes. Planning ahead and being prepared, however, may help keep you safe if you find yourself driving during an earthquake.