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Interim Recommendations for Driving Safely in a Disaster Location

Photo of car on wet road.These interim recommendations are based on current knowledge as of October 21, 2005 ; the recommendations will be updated and revised as appropriate, as additional information becomes available.

  • Use your safety belt at all times.
  • Drive at a speed that is safe for road and weather conditions.
  • Recognize that traffic control information may not be posted because of damage to traffic signs.
  • Stop lights and street signs may be missing or not working – Treat intersections where lights are out as a four-way stop.
  • Recognize that police/law enforcement may be unable to enforce traffic laws.
  • Be alert for trash in the road and for road damage.
  • Be alert for trash falling from haul trucks and other vehicles.
  • Keep space between you and other vehicles.
  • Make sure to secure cargo or trash carried by your vehicle - shifting loads may fall or make the vehicle unstable.
  • Avoid driving through water, especially when it is fast moving.
    • As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your car or truck.
    • Two feet of water will carry most cars away.
  • Do not drive through standing water if fallen electrical wires are in the water.
  • Avoid driving when tired, fatigued, or upset.
  • Do not use a cell phone while operating a vehicle.
  • Avoid other distractions, such as eating, drinking, or adjusting vehicle controls, while driving.
  • Plan your route in advance.
Contact Us:
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USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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