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Caribbean hurricane season is from June 1 through November 30. There are many resources for preparing your family and home, like the USVI Department of Health Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm and the USVI Department of Public Works Safety Tips, but what about preparing your vehicle for a hurricane? While you’re making your checklists and gathering supplies, be sure to have a plan for your car too.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Hurricane Season

  1. Gather Your Documents — In addition to making sure your personal documents – like birth certificates, social security cards, health documents, etc. – are in a safe, dry place, be sure to include your vehicle documents. This includes your registration, insurance, service records, and any other important paperwork you have.
  2. Inspect Your Vehicle — This is something you should be doing regularly already, but the start of hurricane season is a good time to make sure everything is in working order. An inspection should include fluids (topping off if needed), lights, windshield wiper blades, power features, battery, and anything else mentioned in your owner’s manual.

Preparing Before a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

  1. Fill Your Tank — We know from experience that fuel is in high demand after a hurricane. Fill your tank prior to a storm so you don’t need to worry about it in the aftermath.
  2. Take Pictures — It’s a good idea to take pictures or video of the condition of your vehicle before a storm in the event that you need to submit an insurance claim.
  3. Move Your Vehicle To A Safe Place — Shelter your vehicle from wind and water. A garage is ideal, but we know not many island homes have an enclosed garage. Park close to a building to protect from wind and on higher ground to protect from flooding. Avoid parking under/near trees or power lines.
  4. Check Your Windows — And check them twice! Make sure that all windows, including a sunroof, are tightly sealed so no water can enter the vehicle.

Under no circumstances should you drive during a hurricane! Please follow the above tips for preparing your vehicle and stay safe indoors for the duration of a storm.

Driving After A Hurricane or Tropical Storm

  1. Don’t Speed — In fact, drive much slower than the speed limit as there are many unknowns, like flooding, debris, damaged pavement, and continued winds.
  2. Avoid Standing Water — After a storm, high water can cause your vehicle to hydroplane or the water may have a current that could cause your vehicle to wash away from the road.
  3. Stick To The Main Roads — Don’t take shortcuts because they may be more likely to have issues, like downed trees and power lines or flooding.
  4. Watch for Power Lines — Downed power lines can be very dangerous for your vehicle and passengers. Drive slow and navigate around down power lines with caution.
  5. Limit Your Driving — It’s natural to want to head out the explore after a storm, but it’s best to minimize congestion on the roads so emergency workers can do their jobs. Only drive if it’s absolutely necessary.

What To Do With Your Rental Car If A Hurricane Is Coming

If a hurricane warning has been issued and you have a Centerline rental car, you have options.

  1. You may continue to rent the vehicle during the hurricane occurrence, but anyone who retains a vehicle will be fully responsible for any damages/losses to the vehicle as a result of the storm. Be sure to follow the above tips for before and after a storm.
  2. You may return the vehicle. Note that you will be responsible for the rental charges up to the point of return. Once the hurricane has passed, we can arrange for you to pick up another vehicle for the continuation of the rental. Please return your vehicle to our Airport Rental Car Returns location if at all possible. You will be responsible for transportation from our facility.

Stay safe this hurricane season. And here’s hoping it’s uneventful!