Tornado in your rearview mirror? GEICO has a few safety tips

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2016 – Spring marks the beginning of tornado season. While many may only associate this natural disaster with the Midwest, tornadoes have actually occurred in all 50 states according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As storm season begins to pick up, GEICO encourages drivers to prepare in case they get stuck in a tornado.

Know the Warning Signs

According to NOAA, tornadoes are tough to predict, but in many instances, warning signs can include:

  • Large hail and heavy rain followed by a calm period and a sudden wind shift
  • Low, dark clouds that appear to be rotating
  • Deep rumbling that sounds like an approaching freight train
  • Swirling debris on the ground

Tornado tips for drivers

If a tornado strikes while you're driving, it's important to find a way to get yourself to the safest place possible. NOAA has a few suggestions on how to take cover.

  • For a funnel cloud off in the distance, drive away from it moving at right angles to the tornado's path. Find a sturdy building such as a bank or fast food restaurant or an underground shelter and wait there until the tornado passes.
  • If a tornado touches down nearby and there's a risk of flying debris, drivers can stay in the car, buckle their seatbelts, duck down below the windows and cover their heads with their hands or a blanket as one option.
  • Many roadways have low-lying ditches off to the side. Drivers can lay down in one of these ditches if it is safely accessible and again cover their heads with their hands as another option for riding out a tornado.
  • Do not take cover in the area underneath a highway overpass. These spots offer very little protection against flying debris, which is responsible for most tornado-related injuries.

After the tornado passes, use extreme caution and avoid dangerous debris such as broken glass, nails and other sharp objects. Always stay away from downed power lines, and don't enter buildings that have sustained heavy damage because they could collapse.

If a tornado damages your vehicle, the loss may be covered if you carry comprehensive coverage on your policy. To file a claim visit GEICO's claim center online, download the GEICO Mobile app or call (800) 861-8380.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 14 million private passenger customers and insures more than 23 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

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