General Motors' OnStar telematics service for US customers is helping vehicle owners affected by the tropical storm/hurricane Gustav due to make landfall on the Gulf coast during Monday.

Subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are able to contact specially-trained crisis advisors. OnStar experienced a 30% increase over typical call volume on Sunday, 31 August, as the city of New Orleans was evacuated.

The system can use GPS positioning to direct emergency responders to the subscriber's location. Operators can inform appropriate public safety officials when a subscriber contacts them about someone in need of emergency assistance.

The system can also connect subscribers to family and friends and provide real time crisis information and central assistance for food, water, shelter locations and hotel accommodation along with information on road closures, power outages, and weather updates.

"When fires, hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes affect our customers, OnStar opens its services to all affected subscribers," said Scott Kubicki, vice president, OnStar Subscriber Services.

OnStar has also opened special services recently for subscribers affected by tropical storm Fay and the southern California earthquake.

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