Earthquake tips for drivers: Don’t panic

Gwen De La Cruz

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Earthquake tips for drivers: Don’t panic
Do you know what to do when you're inside a moving car during an earthquake?

MANILA, Philippines – By now, everyone knows what to do when an earthquake strikes: drop to the ground, take cover under something sturdy, hold on and stay there, and then evacuate to a safe open area when the shaking stops. (READ: Earthquake tips: what to do before during, and after an earthquake)

But what do you do if you’re driving a moving vehicle when the “Big One” strikes? 

According to experts from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the important thing is not to panic, think quickly, and get to safety. 

Follow this step-by-step guide on what you should do if you find yourself in a moving vehicle: 

Step 1: Be aware of the intensity of the earthquake 

If the shaking due to the earthquake is strong (more than intensity 5), you will feel your vehicle wobble like it has a flat tire. For drivers, this is a good indicator of an earthquake.

Step 2: Pull to the side of the road and stop the car

Immediately pull to the side of the road and stop to avoid blocking the way for ambulances and other emergency vehicles. Stay away from steep slopes, tall structures, poles, lamp posts and trees that could fall on you.

Step 3: Turn off your engine and put your handbrake on 

Stay calm! Stay in your vehicle until the shaking stops. Be aware of your surroundings and plan your exit.


Step 4: Go to the nearest safe open area

Once the shaking stops, you should get out of your car and go straight to an open area that is safe. Avoid tall buildings, steep slopes, or places that are risky.  

Step 5: Turn on your radio or access the Internet for information

Though the shaking has stopped, it doesn’t mean you are totally safe. With aftershocks likely to follow, avoid crossing bridges, overpasses, flyovers or staying near buildings and other structures that may collapse.Listen to the radio or check your phone to get the latest updates from the government or your local officials. If you have access to the Internet, share your situation with others through social media. (READ: How to use the Project Agos Map during a disaster)

Stay alert and aware and start planning your next steps. Knowing these 5 steps can save your life and the lives of others. 

What dangers await when the West Valley Fault moves?

Check out the maps and the fast facts to understand the risks and plan how to survive when a strong quake shakes Metro Manila and surrounding provinces



In a 2004 Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake from the West Valley Fault is estimated to cause massive destruction in Metro Manila.

Being inside a car can be used to your advantage as long as you stay safe. But the best way to stay alive is to prepare yourself physically and mentally for an earthquake.

Disaster preparedness experts advise everyone to keep an emergency ‘go bag’ in your car so you have a ready supply of food, medicine and, most importantly, water in case an earthquake strikes. 

Lastly, keep in mind that an earthquake can strike at anytime. – with reports from Mono Khan Sokum and Monyneath Reath/

Cars image from Shutterstock

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