Driving When a Quake Strikes

Today is The Great ShakeOut: our “scheduled” earthquake drill. At 10:20am, DROP, COVER, & HOLD ON!

Hey, what if you’re driving?

PG&E’s guide to Emergency Preparedness covers general as well as electric and gas-related topics. I found this section on being in your car when an earthquake strikes particularly interesting:

In your car:

  • Pull your vehicle over to the side of the road if you’re driving.
  • Move the vehicle out of the path of traffic.
  • Don’t stop on or under overpasses, bridges or tunnels.
  • Don’t stop near electrical power lines, light posts, trees or signs.
  • Stay in your car until the earthquake is over.

This reminded me of something else I learned at a meeting recently. What should you do if an electric power line falls on your car? Stay inside the car. Your tires will act as a circuit breaker until the electricity is turned off. Do NOT reach out and make contact between your foot and the ground because that will cause electricity to flow right through you. Not good!

If this should ever happen, call 9-1-1 immediately, then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Here’s more FEMA information about being in different situations (in a wheelchair, in a highrise, a classroom or a store, and more) when a quake strikes.

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