With Hurricane Sandy heading toward Florida, much of the East Coast is preparing for heavy rain and high winds this Halloween. But whether or not you happen to be in Hurricane Sandy’s path, winter is just around the corner, making this an opportune time for all of us to brush up on the basics of driving in inclement weather.

How to avoid a hurricane

Of course, the safest way to deal with a hurricane is to simply avoid it. If you can, evacuate even before an official order is given. Make sure you have a full tank of gas, but plan on going to the nearest evacuation destination.

Try to make reservations before you leave and give yourself plenty of time to get there (you won’t be the only one trying to leave town). Shelters can be uncomfortable and often don’t take pets, so try to stay at hotel or with friends if possible.

More info: How to avoid a hurricane

How to drive in rain (if you can’t avoid the hurricane)

You don’t have to be in Hurricane Sandy’s path to experience the peripheral effects of the storm. In fact, The Weather Channel is warning residents in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New England to be prepared for damaging winds and heavy rain.

The best advice for driving in a hurricane is to slow down. Wet roads make it harder to maneuver and require extra braking distance, so it’s a good idea to drive slower than the posted speed limits (which don’t take rain into account). Keep your headlights on low beam to avoid possible glare and don’t use your cruise control, which can increase your chances of losing control or hydroplaning.

More info: How to drive in rain

How to drive in high winds

With 105 mph winds, Hurricane Sandy will pack some serious punch as it makes its way along the Eastern Seaboard.

When driving in hurricane weather, it’s important to slow down and keep both hands on the wheel. Try to steer clear of trucks and buses as much as possible and watch for downed power lines and flying debris. Most importantly, be extra attentive to what’s happening around your vehicle — you never know what high winds might kick up.

More info: How to drive in high winds

Additional safety advice

If you happen to be in the path of Hurricane Sandy, your best bet is to avoid the roads as much as possible. But if you do need to drive through the storm, remember to stay calm, be attentive, and drive slowly.

Stay safe this weekend, everyone!

Safe and smart | Around the nation


about Heidi

Heidi brings 11 years’ experience to her role as Esurance’s copywriting manager. Writer, editor, and all around wordsy, she was content when content wasn’t cool. Also, she likes old-school country.