A hurricane or other storm is headed your way. You’ve got your house prepared and your pantry stocked up, but have you thought about what to do with your car before the storm hits?
Obviously, the best and safest place to park your car during a hurricane or other bad storm is not in its path, but that isn’t always a feasible option for any number of reasons. Let’s look at some ways to protect your car and some good places to park it to avoid or lessen storm damage if evacuating out of the path of the storm isn’t an option.
Where to Park Your Car:
Option 1. Garage or Barn
The first option to protect your car during a hurricane would be to park it inside, whether that is a garage attached to your house, a barn, or an indoor parking garage in a city. As long as the building is above ground and fairly sturdy, your car should be relatively safe during the hurricane.
The building will help to protect your car from any flying debris, and being in an enclosed structure will help to keep any water at bay. If you are parking your car inside your house’s garage, then it might be a good idea to shore up the garage by bracing the door so it can absorb any debris impacts.
If flooding is an issue, then sandbags around your house can help keep the water at bay, protecting your house and your car simultaneously.
Sandy Rosenthal, author of Words Whispered in Water: Why the Levees Broke in Hurricane Katrina, recommends parking your car up high. She says:
“The answer is vertical evacuation. Park it up high.
Having survived the winds of Hurricane Katrina, I would suggest parking a car in a large parking garage well off the ground in case of unexpected levee breaches. (55% of the American population lives in counties protected by levees.)”
Melanie Musson, car insurance expert and writer for Car Insurance Comparison, agrees that a parking garage, if there is one near you, is a good choice for parking your car during a hurricane. She says:
“When you know a storm is coming, the list of tasks to prepare for it can be daunting. In the stress, take a minute to consider where the best place to park your car is. If you have a garage, that’s an obvious place of protection during a hurricane.
If you don’t have a garage or your garage has been taken over by stuff so there’s no room for a car, look up. If you see trees and branches, you probably should not park your car there. Try to find the most shelter you can away from big branches. Next to your house may be a good choice.
Don’t leave the car parked on low ground that is at risk of flooding. Even if there’s just a gentle slope on your property, park on the high ground.
If there is a public parking garage nearby, you could consider parking there. Your vehicle will be sheltered from debris and flooding in a parking garage. It’s one of the best places to park a vehicle but it may be inconvenient.
Option 2: Park Your Car on the Driveway
If you are unable to park your car in your garage or you don’t have one, there are other places to park your car during a hurricane. The next best option is to park your car in your driveway.
You can either park in your driveway with the front of your car facing out towards the street, or park your car horizontally across your driveway.
A good reason to park your car with the front facing the street is that in case of rising water, you may need to escape. In this instance, you will be able to pull straight out and reduce damage to your car by not having water go through your tailpipe.
Another good and similar reason for parking your car facing forward is that if you are staying home and the water rises, there is less of a chance for water to get into your car and flood it out, damaging the internal parts including the engine. Parking this way also presents a smaller target for debris flying towards your house and your car.
Another way to park your car at your house is not on the street, but horizontally in the driveway. This way of parking can help prevent water from coming too far into your driveway, as well as help protect any cars that are currently in your driveway from any debris the hurricane brings.
If your driveway is full of cars, parking horizontally across the end of your driveway will also help to keep your car that is normally in the street from getting flooded as quickly, if at all.
When parking your car outside, whether in your driveway or next to a building, reinforce your car’s windows to help protect them from being broken or blown out. If your car’s windows do break, reinforcing them with tape will also help to reduce any cleanup you’ll have to do afterward.
Option 3: Next to a Building
There may be instances where you cannot park your car in your garage or driveway for whatever reason, but if this is the case then there are other places you can park your car near your house or on your property during a hurricane.
If you have enough room, then the next best place to park would be next to a building but away from power lines, trees, or other large plants. The building creates a windbreak to protect from the hurricane’s high winds and any debris it might kick up.
Staying away from power lines and trees or other large plants is also a good way to minimize damage since it automatically removes major risk factors from around your car. You will want to make sure, though, that the building you park near is on fairly high ground in case of flooding.
Option 4: High Ground
The best option, if you have to park outside and away from your house or other structures, is to make sure that you are parking on high ground to avoid flooding.
If there is no way to park in a protected area, then the next best option is to park on the highest ground you can find, away from power lines, trees, and anything else that can pose a danger to your car.
If you are parking in the open, invest in a car cover to help keep water from getting in if possible. You will also want to make sure that your car’s sunroof, if it has one, is sealed tight, as well as any doors and windows, and that any maintenance has been done on your car before the storm hits.
Option 5: Parking Garage
As a last resort, you can park your car in a parking garage to protect it from a hurricane. If you are going to park your car in a parking garage to get out of the way of a storm, you’ll want to make sure that you park above ground to avoid any water that comes into the parking garage.
The best place to park your car in a parking garage is to park on a higher level, away from any windows or openings along the edge of the parking garage. This will reduce the risk of rain or debris damaging your car if it comes through one of the openings in the side of the parking garage.
A parking garage should be treated as a refuge of last resort from the hurricane since there are many more things that can go wrong when parking in a building you are unfamiliar with versus your house, barn, or other buildings on or near your property that you are familiar with and maintain.
Parking garages can protect you in a pinch, but they may not have the best structural integrity and if the storm is bad enough, it may collapse or cause other damage to your car.
The fact that most parking garages have openings on the side is also something to be aware of, as this can allow them to act as a wind tunnel, funneling debris down the center of it and possibly causing worse damage than if your car is out in the open.
Now that we have looked at places you can park your car during a hurricane, hopefully, this information will help you to get prepared before a storm hits.
The most important information is to be safe and make sure you plan out where to put your car before a hurricane hits your area. Make sure your car is in good repair and your insurance information is current.
The best information to keep in mind, though, is that ultimately your car can be replaced, but your life is more important than your car.