No matter its size, the danger of a thunderstorm should not be underestimated. All storms are dangerous when lighting gets involved, and many storms also bring strong winds, heavy rain or hail. If you're driving when a thunderstorm hits, it's important to take steps to stay safe.
Lightning myths and facts
Myth: If it's not raining or cloudy, you're safe from lightning.
Fact: If you can hear thunder, lightning is nearby. Lightning often strikes over ten miles from the center of a thunderstorm.
Myth: In the event of a lightning strike, the rubber in a car's tires protect occupants from being harmed.
Fact: If struck, the metal frame of the car provides protection. The charge travels through the frame and into the ground without harming occupants only if they avoid touching anything that conducts a charge.
Myth: A lightning strike victim carries a charge and should not be touched.
Fact: Lightning travels at about 220,000,000 mph and will have exited the body by the time you approach. Check for a pulse and render first aid if possible. Call 911 immediately.
Tips to protect yourself:
- When driving during a thunderstorm, find a safe way to exit the roadway.
- Park with your hazard lights on and make sure your windows are rolled up completely.
- Turn off the engine and sit with your hands on your knees or in your lap until the storm passes.
- Avoid parking next to trees, poles or any tall object that could attract lightning or fall on your vehicle
- Stay away from slopes or low areas that could flood during heavy rain.
- If your vehicle is struck by lightning, do not exit the vehicle until the storm passes. Then, check your tires for damage before attempting to start the vehicle and drive.