Hurricane Irma is headed toward Georgia, promising to bring torrential rain, damaging wind and little to no visibility on roads.
The perfect storm of reasons not to drive, in other words.
But what if you can’t avoid it? Much of coastal Georgia and other parts of the state are under mandatory evacuation orders beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. In anticipation, AAA has released a set of tips for people who have to drive during what’s likely to be increasingly dangerous conditions.
“The safety of our members and all motorist on Georgia roadways is a top priority for AAA,” said Garrett Townsend, Georgia Public Affairs Director for AAA - The Auto Club Group. “It is vital for Georgians to begin preparations now for Hurricane Irma."
Georgians should heed all official warnings and stay off the roads unless ordered to evacuate, AAA stresses. But given Irma’s size and unpredictability, no one should ignore these tips:
Be weather wise. Check local traffic and weather conditions before venturing out. If you’re a AAA member, get up-to-date weather information via AAA’s WeatherFX Alert system.
Assemble an emergency kit. Among the items AAA says a kit should include are: flashlight and extra batteries, drinking water, mobile phone and car charger, first aid kit, emergency flares and reflectors and enough food and drink for all passengers and pets in your vehicle.
Have a full tank of gas ahead of time. AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.GasPrices.AAA. com. You can check average prices for all grades at different locations around the state. (Note: If you’re worried about finding gas, you can also check out gasbuddy.com’s Gas Availability Tracker at tracker.gasbuddy.com).
Prepare your vehicle, paying special attention to tires. “Your tires are the only part of the car that has direct contact with the road, so it is important they are in good shape,” AAA advises. That includes testing your tire pressure against the recommended inflation pressures located in the vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the tire information decal attached to the driver’s door jamb. It’s also important to check tread depth at three locations: the outer edge, center and inside edge. Find tire safety maintenance information at exchange.aaa.com.
Keep up-to-date on official warnings and updates. Get Georgia Department of Transportation updates -- weather alerts, evacuation routes, major roadway incidents in Georgia -- at www.511ga.org. And get hurricane preparedness information from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency at www.gema.ga.gov.