If you’re on the Eastern Seaboard, there’s a good chance you’re tracking Hurricane Irene right now. And if you’re one of the thousands of people evacuating the area, keep these tips from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in mind:

Don’t wait.

If you know the storm’s heading your way, don’t wait for an official evacuation order. Leave as soon as possible to get a jumpstart on both traffic and worsening weather.

Stay close.

To minimize the amount of time you spend traveling, select the evacuation destination that’s nearest to your home.

Be patient.

You’re probably not the only one trying to get out of Dodge, so plan for traffic and congestion on your exit route. Be patient and remember that everyone has the same goal you do: safety.

Make reservations.

If you’re headed to a hotel, be aware that inland hotels could book up fast. Make a reservation before you hit the road.

Use a shelter as a last resort.

Because shelters are uncomfortable and usually don’t take pets, check in only as a last resort. If at all possible, stay with family, friends, or at a hotel.

And if you’re driving when the storm hits, read our insight on how to keep yourself and your car safe.

More hurricane preparedness tips

NHC’s guide for building a disaster supply kit
NHC’s guide for securing your home
FEMA’s hurricane tips

DIY hacks | Safe and smart

about Heidi

Heidi brings 8 years’ experience to her role as Esurance’s copywriting manager. As a bona fide lit nerd and sucker for anachronism, she spends her days trying to incorporate Hemingway, Frost, and Shakespeare into car insurance (with varying degrees of success).