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First things first: It is best to stay off the road when the weather is dangerous. Seek shelter and follow the local instructions until the danger has passed. That said, you may find yourself stranded in your car at the worst possible moment. These tips can help you weather the storm.

Did You Know?

There are about 6.3 million vehicle crashes in the U.S. each year. About 1.5 million are weather-related.

47% of weather-related crashes are caused by rain alone.

Flash Flood Approach any large pools of water in the road slowly. Observe how other vehicles are handling them. If it’s unclear how deep the water is, don’t try to drive through it. If the engine stalls, abandon the vehicle (if you can do so safely) or dial 911.

Lightning Storm No place is completely safe from lightning, but your car is among the safer ones. The reason is that, when struck by lightning, the car transmits the charge through its metal exterior into the ground.

Blizzard Preparation is key. Carry a shovel and a bag of salt to help you get out of a snow bank. Always carry a fully charged cell phone. Make sure that your car battery is fully charged and that you have plenty of antifreeze. If you know a blizzard is going to hit, fill up your gas tank.

If you should break down, don’t leave the car unless you know exactly where you are, how far you need to travel to get help, and whether you’re certain to find it once you get there.

Tornado If you spot a tornado, your car is one of the last places you want to be. Stop and find a place far away from your car. Look for a spot that’s lower than the level of the road (a hole or a depression). Cover your head with your hands or an object to deflect flying debris, then wait for the storm to pass. Never seek shelter under a bridge or an overpass: The narrow passage under the bridge could cause an increase in wind speed, and the bridge won't protect you from flying debris.

Earthquake Pull over in an open area away from large buildings, trees, overpasses or utility wires. Stay inside the car and listen to the radio for emergency instructions. Once the rocking and rolling has stopped, remain still for 15 to 20 minutes to wait out the worst aftershocks. Then drive cautiously, looking for breaks in the road and downed electrical lines. Avoid bridges or overpasses that may have been damaged by the tremors.