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Driving During a Fire Evacuation


Keeping Your Family Safe on the Roads During Wildfire Season

Northern California's likelihood of wildfires throughout any given year means that every resident should be prepared in knowing how to evacuate if need be. When given little warning, the roads may quickly become jammed, with high stress and anxiety increasing the likelihood of being in a collision. To best prepare yourself and your family, here are some essential tips for before, during, and after an evacuation.

Preparing Your Vehicle for a Fire Evacuation

Although you should routinely be maintaining your vehicle and double checking if it needs any repairs, this becomes even more crucial during fire season. Make sure your gas tank is always at least half-full, so you have enough fuel to evacuate if needed. It's also important to have a full-size spare tire in case you get a flat while on the road. In addition, pack an emergency kit for your car that includes water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and blankets.


It's also helpful to create a designated evacuation plan with your family, especially if you have young children, so everyone is on the same page about what is needed before getting on the road.

Staying Safe in Wildfire Traffic

When you are ordered to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not wait to see if the fire is getting closer—it's better to be safe than sorry. As you get on the road, avoid driving through smoke if possible as it can severely impair your vision. If you must drive through smoke, turn on your headlights and keep your windows up. Drive slowly, and be prepared to stop if necessary.


If you get caught in traffic and the fire is getting too close for comfort, do not panic. Turn your hazard lights on and pull to the side of the road if possible. Do not stop in the middle of the road as this will block traffic and increase the risk of being hit by another car. Once you have pulled over, turn off your engine and wait for the fire to pass.

Returning Home After the Evacuation

Once the fire has passed and it is safe to return to your home, take your time in doing so. Wildfires can damage roadways, so be cautious when driving. If you come across any downed power lines, do not try to move them—call 911 instead. Be aware of animals that may have been displaced by the fire; they may be scared and could pose a danger if they feel threatened.


It's important to remember not to return to your home until you are given the all-clear by authorities, even if you feel the area was undamaged. Stay informed of the progress the fire has made, and make necessary arrangements for lodging until you know for certain that it is safe. If you had to leave a vehicle behind during the evacuation, do not try to retrieve it until given the confirmation to do so.


Wildfires can be a scary and stressful time, but if you are prepared and take the necessary precautions, you can keep yourself and your family safe. Remember to evacuate immediately when ordered, drive carefully and slowly in traffic, and do not stop in the middle of the road.

Need Help After a Car Accident? Call Our Sacramento Attorneys

Being caught on the road during a wildfire is stressful enough, you shouldn’t have to worry about negligent drivers causing you more harm. Our Sacramento car accident attorneys can help you recover compensation following a car accident that left you or a loved one injured.


Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (916) 476-2399 or filling out this short form. Spanish, Hindi, and Punjabi consultations are available.

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