How Tropical Weather Can Impact Your Vehicle

How Tropical Weather Can Impact Your Vehicle

Asheville and Arden are not necessarily areas you might expect to encounter tropical weather; however, the remnants of tropical storms and hurricane making landfall on the coasts of the Carolinas or the Gulf can wreak havoc in our area. In 1989 Hurricane Hugo maintained its strength and brought significant damage to western North Carolina.

As recently as 2018, two systems Hurricanes Frances and Michael, brought heavy rains, high winds, and landslides to our South Asheville.

If tropical weather does impact our area this season or in the future, it could have a profound impact on your vehicle. In this post, we are discussing ways in which tropical weather could damage your car, and what you should do if it happens.

1) Wind Damage

Tropical storms and hurricanes making landfall on the Gulf Coast or the southeast coasts of the Carolinas can maintain a measure of strength as they move into our area. We have an abundance of trees in our area, which is a wonderful perk of living here until tropical-storm-force winds start shaking loose limbs and pushing over trees. You can increase your chances of avoiding wind damage to your vehicle by following these steps:

  1. Have dead trees and tree limbs removed professionally before the storm strikes.
  2. Do not park your vehicle near potential tree hazards.
  3. Bring rolling garbage cans inside your garage if possible.
  4. Strap down or bring loose outdoor furniture and toys.
  5. Park your vehicle inside if at all possible.

Sometimes wind damage can occur regardless of the measures you take. Contact us, if your car becomes the victim of flying debris.

2) Heavy Rain

Even if a tropical system’s winds weaken as it crosses hundreds of miles of land from the coast, heavy rain is by far the biggest threat to people and property in western North Carolina. Unfortunately, more people are hurt from flash flooding than any other tropical weather attribute. The pristine and beautiful creeks and rivers that crisscross our area can spill their banks and make driving treacherous.

When rainfall is heavy, there are several threats to your vehicle, including:

  • Visibility: When rain falls fast, it can be harder to see even what’s right in front of you. Fender benders with objects and vehicles are common during periods of heavy, tropical rain.
  • Hydroplaning: Rainfall rates during tropical systems can be higher than typical summer storms, causing water to pond on highways and secondary roads. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires stop making contact with the road surfaces, decreasing the driver’s control. If you hydroplane, do not brake or accelerate suddenly. Point the steering wheel gently toward open space and lightly press the accelerator.
  • Other Vehicles: You may slow down, turn your lights on, and avoid using cruise control while driving through heavy tropical rainfall, but you cannot control other drivers.

More than protecting your vehicle from damage, it is vital to protect your occupants and yourself from heavy rain by following these tips:

  • Slow Down: Drive slower and more carefully. This will help you see and react to changing road conditions appropriately.
  • Turn Around: Turn around, don’t drown. Do not drive through standing water. Even six inches of water can cause a car to stall. If that water is flowing, it can push your vehicle off the road.
  • Road Closures: If a road is closed, it is for good reason. Flooding and landslides can render a road completely impassable. The road itself may have even washed away. If there is standing water on the road, consider it closed.
  • Weather-awareness: Utilize your radio and smartphone in order to stay aware of weather alerts. If a flash flood warning is issued in your area, pay close attention to road conditions and do not drive if you can avoid it.

3) Debris

In the days following tropical systems in our area, storm debris may be in the road. Rocks and boulders from landslides, limbs, and trees from wind damage, and all manner of debris from flooding may linger on your daily route for some time. These can pose threats to your vehicle’s paint and fenders.

You can treat tropical weather as seriously and safely as possible and still find your vehicle damaged. Do not worry. Take plenty of pictures and document damages for your insurance company, then bring your vehicle to us for a free estimate. First Aid Coalition is here to help after the storm. Contact us, for an estimate and repairs.