Monsoon 2012: Preparedness is Key to Weathering Summer Storms

Protect your home, prepare your car and stay safe on the road, says AAA

Phoenix, Ariz., June 11, 2012. From high winds and heavy rain to lightning and flash floods, monsoons deliver some of the most hazardous weather Arizonans experience all year. As monsoon season begins later this week, AAA would like to help Arizonans prepare before these extreme summer storms arrive.

“Because of the rapid nature of a monsoon, it’s imperative that homeowners and motorists are prepared regardless of where they are when a storms strikes,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance for AAA Arizona.

To help Arizonans prepare for Monsoon 2012, AAA would like to offer the following tips to protect your home, prepare your car and to stay safe on the road:

At home, consumers should:

  • Review your homeowner’s policy to ensure your home is protected against monsoon damage.  Standard home insurance policies do not have flood coverage. Nationwide, 30 percent of flood insurance claims each year are filed by people who don’t live in high risk zones, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Secure outdoor furniture, fixtures and garbage cans. Even in weak storms, these can easily be blown over, causing damage to the object, your home, or people.
  • Stake and prune trees. Drive wooden stakes at least two feet into the ground, and secure young trees to them. For larger, more mature trees, trim down heavy or dead branches. These branches can damage your house by striking it in the wind or falling on it.
  • Prepare for electrical surges and outages. Protect sensitive electronics, such as computers, gaming systems, or televisions by plugging them into surge protectors. Also, keep flashlights and fresh batteries on hand. 

On your car, drivers should inspect:

  • Windshield wipers. Direct exposure to the sun coupled with Arizona’s dry heat can cause wipers to crack and fall off.
  • Head and brake lights. Bad weather creates poor visibility making it difficult to see other drivers, and difficult for other drivers to see you.
  • Brakes. Faulty brakes can lengthen your stopping distance, so ensure your brakes are in proper working order so you can stop safely.

  • Tire tread. As tread wears, tires lose their ability to grip a wet surface. To ensure you have adequate tread, place a quarter head first into the grooves of your tire. If you can see any space above Washington’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.
  • Insurance policy. Motorists generally need a comprehensive policy to be protected against storm damage. Liability coverage only, for example, does not typically cover hail, wind, and rain damage. 

On the road, drivers should:

  • Slow down. Roads become slippery when water mixes with oil, dirt and grease making it harder to control a vehicle.
  • Do not tailgate.  Stopping distances are greater on wet, slippery roads.
  • Allow extra time to get to your destination. Traffic is heavier in bad weather.
  • Refrain from driving through flooded areas. It only takes a few inches of rushing water to move a vehicle. Arizona’s “Stupid Motorist Law” allows agencies to collect up to $2,000 for water rescues, if drivers get stuck after purposely drive in flooded areas.
  • Exercise patience. Inclement weather results in a higher than normal call volume for Roadside Assistance. This coupled with road closures and flooding, can lead to service delays.
  • If you get caught in a severe storm and cannot drive safely, completely off the roadway and stop with your lights off. Lift your foot from the brake to ensure your brake lights are not lit. This will prevent other drivers from following your taillights, thinking you are still on the road. Never stop in the travel portion of the roadway.

Visit AZ.AAA.com/insurance for more information on home or auto insurance and AZ.AAA.com/auto for AAA’s network of Arizona club owned or approved auto repair facilities.
To view the Arizona Department of Transportation’s public service announcement on monsoon driver safety, visit pullasidestayalive.org.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.