Nevada experienced its largest earthquake in over 60 years on Friday, May 15, 2020. Fortunately, the 6.5 earthquake hit a remote area, about 36 miles west of Tonopah. Aftershocks as strong as a 4.5 magnitude continued throughout Friday night. No injuries were reported, but the earthquake did rupture U.S. 95 between Coaldale Junction and Mina. If the earthquake had hit Reno, there would have been much more damage and major injuries. According to the director of the Nevada Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, things could’ve been worse. If this hit in a city like Reno, there would’ve been “millions of dollars of damage and loss of life.” What if you were on the road when the earthquake struck? Do you know what you would do? We created a guide to driving during an earthquake so that you can stay safe on the roads, whether or not they’re shaking.
Road Risks Posed by an Earthquake
Last week’s earthquake in Nevada cracked the U.S. 95 west of Tonopah. Cracked roads and highways are just one of the risks posed by an earthquake. Below are other potential hazards to watch out for if you find yourself on the road during an earthquake.
- Cracked roads
- Collapsed overpasses
- Damaged utilities, like gas lines
- Collapsed bridges
- Downed power lines
- Collapsed tunnels
- Flooded roads and bridges if near the coast
- Broken glass
If you should find yourself driving during an earthquake in the Las Vegas area, it’s natural to be concerned – but the key is to not panic. Follow the tips we include here, if possible. After the earthquake subsides, it’s important to take a moment and assess the situation, then call Anthem Injury Lawyers. Let us help protect your rights if you’ve been in a car accident caused by an earthquake. Call our Las Vegas personal injury law firm today: (702) 857-6000.
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Tips for Driving During an Earthquake
The experience of driving during an earthquake can range from hardly noticing to feeling out of control. You can’t predict when or if you will be driving during an earthquake. It’s best to understand what safety precautions you can take in the moment.
- Slow down. Until you can find a safe place to pull over, slow down. If you’re driving on the freeway, take the first exit.
- Pull over. Stop your engine and set your parking brake. As soon as it’s safe, pull over where you won’t be in danger of things falling on you. Avoid trees, signs, building overhangs, overpasses, street lamps, etc. If you’re near the coast, drive to higher ground in case of a tsunami.
- Remain in your vehicle. Keep your seatbelt on, cover your head with your arms, and try to stay below your windows. Wait until the earthquake is over before exiting your car. Do not touch metal. You could get electrocuted. Your car also acts as protection against falling debris and dust. If something falls on your car, stay parked until a professional can help you. If you think your car is hidden, lay on your horn so someone can find you. Wait for rescuers to help.
- Stay informed. Turn off your engine, but turn on your radio. Check your local radio station for updates. They will most likely have emergency broadcasting. However, limit your phone usage. Wireless service tends to become compromised during emergencies. Keep phone use limited to essential communication.
- Be alert. Keep your eyes open for damaged roads, highways, bridges, overpasses, flooding, fallen trees, downed power lines, and broken gas lines. Also be on the lookout for distracted or panicked drivers. Aftershocks are unpredictable so try to get to your destination as soon as possible. If there’s another big shake, pull over and wait until the shaking stops.
- Anticipate power outages. Traffic lights may not be in working order. Be prepared to treat them like 4-way stops and understand who has the right-of-way.
General Earthquake Safety Tips
Earthquake Road Kit
It’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car regardless of what natural disasters are common in your state. But if you live in an earthquake-prone area, below is a list of items you’ll want to have in your vehicle at all times.
- First-aid kit with basic medical supplies and any medications specific to your family’s needs.
- An emergency contact list. Include an out-of-area friend or family member who can be the point person to deliver information on your whereabouts.
- Blankets or emergency sleeping bags.
- Headlamp and/or flashlight.
- Rechargeable or battery-operated portable radio.
- Extra batteries.
- Portable smartphone charger.
- Bottled water or gallon water.
- Non-perishable foods, like dried or canned goods and energy bars.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Maps. If your phone runs out of battery and you need to navigate detours, paper maps can be helpful.
- Always keep your gas tank at least half full.
Home Earthquake Preparedness
It never hurts to have a refresher on earthquake safety for your home. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the most recent Tonopah earthquake. But it is a reminder that we should all be prepared for natural disasters.
- Create a family plan. Understand how you would evacuate from each room of your home in the case of an earthquake.
- Make note of where your emergency kit lives. This includes your first aid kits, extra medication, extra clothing, portable radio, fire extinguishers, and nonperishable food and bottled water.
- Create an emergency contact list. Keep one in your car and at home.
- Mark safe places away from windows, mirrors, heavy furniture, hanging objects, fireplaces or hazardous light fixtures in each room.
- Know where your utility switches are located. If you understand how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains you can avoid any potential hazardous leaks.
- Take note of the safest spots in each room. Good places to duck are sturdy pieces of furniture, like tables or desks. Doorways without doors in them are okay, too.
- Practice what you would do in the case of an earthquake.
- Keep several flashlights and lanterns around your home.
- During an earthquake, if you are inside, stay inside.
- Always remain where you are until the earthquake stops.
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Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in an earthquake-related car accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas. A personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights and navigate the complications that come with earthquake-related injuries. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of automobile accidents. These accidents include: large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
There are many reasons people wait to call a car accident attorney in Las Vegas; and some people don’t contact a lawyer at all. Sometimes people are unsure if they need an attorney, or if a car accident attorney can really make a difference in receiving compensation. They might decide to try and work out the details of their automobile accident case themselves. That usually is not a good idea, as an experienced attorney will know the best ways to navigate the complexities involved in a car accident case. The attorneys at our firm offer you the best opportunity to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. It’s okay to inform yourself with some data from the Internet.
When it comes to seeking maximum compensation, you’ll want to put your case in the hands of the experts. Anthem Injury Lawyers serves Las Vegas and vicinity. Call us today for a free case analysis: (702) 857-6000. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley. As a car accident victim, getting back to health should be your first priority. Let our lawyers go to work for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Should you need us to, we can come to you. Contact us today if you’ve been the victim in a car accident in the Las Vegas area.