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4 tips for driving in a disaster area

Carry an emergency kit
Carry an emergency kit © Michai Pramuanchok/Shutterstock.com

Most drivers have at least one emergency item in their trunk such as jumper cables or a spare tire, Tomczak says. But a State Farm survey in January 2014 found that only 5 percent carry all essential emergency roadside supplies.

This doesn't bode well for drivers who venture out in a disaster and become immobilized due to street damage. "You do not know the impact the storm may have had on road conditions," Tomczak says. You could find yourself stranded for several hours.

Drivers should take time before disaster strikes to make sure they have the necessary supplies. Many automotive and department stores have vehicle emergency kits that can be purchased for around $50. Tomczak says a good emergency kit should include the following:

  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire
  • Hazard triangle/road flares
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Water
  • Blanket

Car owners also should have their cellphones with them. "It's probably the easiest way you'll be able to communicate," AAA's Lardear says.

Before any disaster strikes, make sure the cellphone is fully charged. If you choose to venture out on the roads, take a battery charger to make sure the phone continues to have power.

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