16 Oct Safe Driving During a Lightning Storm
The thunderstorm season is upon us, and with it comes many dangers for car drivers, one of them being lightning strikes.
It’s a common myth that tyres protect the vehicle from being struck by lighting. This urban myth has probably come about because tyres are made of rubber and as we all know rubber insulates current flow.
In actual fact, lightning flows around the car on the outside, and the majority of the current flows from the car’s metal cage into the ground below.
However, not all vehicles are created with metal nowadays.
Convertibles do not have metal roofs and some vehicles are not manufactured using non-metal parts, which prevent electricity’s ability to flow through the car.
What To Do
If you can’t find shelter in a building, your vehicle can keep you safe in the event of a lightning storm. That’s if you follow what is written bellow.
If you are driving and lightning starts to strike, pull over to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, turn off the engine and wait for the storm to pass.
Don’t lean on the doors and don’t touch any metal objects, such as the ignition, radio dials, gear shifts or the steering wheel. This is because some portions of the current can flow through the vehicle’s electrical systems and metal parts including foot pedals, cell phone chargers, and GPS units
The safest position to hold is to fold your hands in your lap and avoid touching anything metal within your car.
Getting out of the car may not be safe either, as the ground around the car will be electrified if lightning strikes the car.
Usually the danger zone is up to nine metres around the car, but it could be even further, depending on the voltage of the wire that’s on the car.
With the additional dangers and difficulties created during a storm, a responsible driver should always plan their driving route and time to ensure they are not on the road during a storm.
Each second you continue driving as a storm sweeps towards you, the chance of being involved in a crash increases dramatically.
How To Tell If A Lightning Storm Is Coming Your Way
Cumulus clouds (the soft-looking white clouds that look like puffs of cotton candy) begin to grow taller and darker.
Heavy rain begins to fall.
You hear intermittent static on an AM radio, that’s because lightning bolts send out an electromagnetic radio wave that interferes with AM radio receivers, therefore an AM radio actually makes a great lightning detector.
Tall, pointed metal objects such as lightning rods appear to have a green or blue glow near their tips that may look like fire; this phenomenon is called St. Elmo’s fire.
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