The weather is always a factor whenever you are driving. Whether it is the extreme heat or a torrential downpour, the elements can inevitably affect the way you drive. Of course, precaution and awareness are among the keys that would help you drive through them as safely as possible.
However, there are certain situations where you need to drive with extra caution. Lightning storms are definitely among those that you should watch out for. These harsh weather conditions are not just terrifying; they are also life-threatening. If you are on the road already and the skies suddenly poured flashes of bolts, you might need to settle down first. You don’t want to pass through the lightning barrage.
There are other people that claim that the safest place to stay where there’s a lightning storm is in your vehicle.
But is this true?
Of course, that’s completely false. While it is true that there are worse places than vehicles, such as open fields, this doesn’t mean that it is safe to stay inside your car during a lightning storm.
One of the things that made people think that a car is a safe haven during stormy weather is the assumption that the rubber of the tires is capable of negating lightning strikes. Sure enough, science told us that rubber insulates electricity. Therefore, we have to agree that the rubber or your tires are non-conductors.
However, you have to be reminded as well that it is not only in the ground where lightning can travel. It can also creep on other parts of your vehicle. If these parts are unprotected, you might be in danger.
Keep in mind that not all vehicles have the same construction. Some have special designs that made them quite weatherproof. For old models of vehicles, that should not be the case.
Here are some situations that you need to think about as well:
- Do you have a convertible car? If yes, you have a treasure. But always keep in mind that it doesn’t have a roof at all. Lightning will not travel in the ground to your tires. However, since your head is good as exposed, there’s a good chance that you will get hit.
- Is your vehicle made from metal? Then you should be concerned. Metal is a good conductor of electricity. Hence, they attract the flow of lightning, and that is where things get serious. Fortunately, there are a lot of vehicles today that have exteriors made from fiberglass. They are insulators and will not permit the transfer of electricity.
- It would really be great if you shut the electrical system of your car during lightning storms. After all, electricity can travel through them. You have to turn off your radio, GPS, and even your smartphones. You don’t want to attract lightning strikes from these devices.
- Also, lightning is quite magnetized by various parts of your vehicle that are made from metal. From door handles, foot pedals, down to the steering columns, lightning can travel through them. Even if it is true that your vehicle’s exterior is made from fiberglass, if it gets in contact with these metallic parts, the chances of you being electrocuted is still high.
Your metal roof can protect you from lightning. However, this doesn’t mean that you are impervious from getting hurt. Your tires will not provide absolute defense against the surge.
When there’s a lightning storm, the best thing that you can do is to pull over. Find a spot where you are shielded by a platform that can deflect the lightning.
Moreover, you should never use your gadgets and other electrical devices whenever passing through a storm. Put them off and make sure that it is your engine that is running. If possible, just switch off your car, too. When pulling over, make sure that your hazard lights are on so that other drivers can see you.
Again, you have to avoid touching any metallic parts of your car. This should include GPS devices, door handles, and the steering wheel. Do not use the radio, as well.
If you are riding a convertible, bicycle, or motorcycle, do not shelter under tall trees. They are the ones that increase the chances of you getting struck by lightning.