Hurricane Irene is poised to make landfall on the Eastern seaboard, then cruise up the coast, impacting up to 50 million drivers in cities from Washington, D.C., to Boston.
Are you prepared?
While hurricanes can be brutal and devastating, they offer at least two upsides that many other natural disasters don't: (1) you can see them coming, which means that (2) you have time to prepare. Our veterans of Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, Katrina, Gustav et al offer some tips to smooth the seas of storm preparation -- whether you plan to ride things out or pack up and go.
1. Maintain your machine (and do it early)
Have you been putting off vehicle maintenance? Need new tires? Serpentine belt about to go? Now's the time to get that out of the way, stat. In a perfect world, you'd have taken advantage of the summer downtime to mosey into your local garage -- or put your car up on blocks, if that's your thing. Today, you just need to make sure your vehicle should be in the best possible shape for a potential round-trip evacuation of 400+ miles.
When most people evacuate, they take the biggest vehicle they've got. That makes sense, given all the people, pets, and belongings that folks want to take with them, but bigger vehicles often come up short on fuel economy. A hitch carrier (here's one example, and here's another) gives you a tad more storage room -- and if you don't have a truck with an open bed, it provides a place to put extra fuel. Anyone who's ever spent 12 hours traveling 100 miles in bumper-to-bumper evacuation traffic knows how important that can be.