(LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2008) – The recently released earthquake forecast and map by the U.S. Geological Survey serves as a reminder to prepare homes for the eventual earthquake, but Southern Californians, who drive a total average of about 300 million miles daily, should remember to be ready for an earthquake while driving, too, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
“Most of us are familiar with the techniques of responding to a quake while indoors, but we may not be aware of how to react if an earthquake occurs while driving,” said Steve Mazor, Manager of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center. “Given the amount of time spent traveling, motorists should be prepared for major emergencies.”
Experiencing an earthquake while in a moving vehicle has been compared to driving on four flat tires. The Auto Club ™ offers these tips to better prepare car owners if an earthquake occurs while they are driving:
- Gradually decrease speed
- Pull to the side of the road when safe to do so
- Do not stop on or under overpasses or bridges
- Do not drive until it's safe to do so
- Avoid parking near trees, downed power lines and buildings
- Stop the car and keep your seat belt fastened
- Remain in your car until the shaking stops
- Keep in mind that aftershocks follow the initial earthquake
- Turn on your car radio and listen for advisories (most radio stations are prepared to broadcast emergency information)
- If driving on the freeway, and if it's safe to do so, exit at the first opportunity
- Cooperate with public safety officers because they are trying to ensure your safety and that of others
Be prepared by stocking the following items in your vehicle:
- Fully equipped first aid kit
- First aid manual (comprehensive)
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable foods
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Flashlight with extra batteries and bulb
- Fire extinguisher (CO2)
- Pocket radio with extra batteries
- Tissues and pre-moistened towels
- Tools (screwdriver, pliers, wire, pocket knife, can opener and duct tape)
- Extra clothes and sturdy shoes
- Short rubber hose for siphoning
- Sealable plastic bags
- Local maps
- Prescription medicine
Note: Motorists should keep their vehicle's gas tank at least half-full at all times, and should not carry spare gas in the trunk.
Several agencies in Southern California provide earthquake information and training.
Though earthquakes can not be avoided, the following safety resources may help you survive and limit the possibility of injury.
For more driving safety information during and after an earthquake, contact the California Highway Patrol. For speakers, films and printed material regarding earthquake preparedness, contact the regional state offices of Emergency Services, and the American Red Cross. To form neighborhood earthquake self-help groups, contact city fire departments for assistance.