What To Do In A Tornado In A Car

Tornadoes are natural disasters that can cause significant damage and pose a threat to human life. If you find yourself in a car when a tornado is approaching, it’s important to know what to do to stay safe. In this article, we will discuss some crucial steps to follow if you find yourself in this situation.

Stay Informed and Prepared

Before hitting the road, it is essential to stay informed about the weather conditions in your area. Pay attention to local weather forecasts and notifications to remain aware of any tornado watches or warnings. Additionally, it is important to be prepared with emergency supplies in your car, such as bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. Having these items readily available can make a significant difference in an emergency situation like a tornado.

Get to Safety

If you are aware that a tornado is approaching and you are in a car, the first step is to get to safety as quickly as possible. In ideal circumstances, find a sturdy building or shelter nearby and park your car there. However, if there is no suitable shelter available, you may need to take different precautions.

Do Not Outrun the Tornado

Contrary to popular belief, trying to outrun a tornado in your car is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Tornadoes can move swiftly and change direction unpredictably, making it difficult to anticipate their path. Furthermore, driving at high speeds could potentially increase the risk of accidents or encounters with flying debris. It is best to find a safe place to take cover rather than attempting to escape the storm in your vehicle.

Take Cover in a Sturdy Structure

If you cannot find a suitable shelter, park your car safely. Ideally, avoid parking under overpasses or bridges as they can create wind tunnels and increase the risk of debris impact. Instead, search for a low-lying area where you can shield yourself from the wind and flying debris. Ditches or culverts can provide some protection, but keep in mind that they may also pose risks such as flooding. Stay away from trees, as they can topple over or break in strong winds.

Stay Inside the Car

While taking cover in a sturdy structure is the best option, if that’s not possible, staying inside your car is the next safest choice. Make sure to fasten your seat belt and keep the engine running. Despite the common myth about opening windows in a tornado, it is best to keep them closed. Open windows can allow dangerous wind gusts and debris into the vehicle, putting you at greater risk of injury.

Protect Yourself During the Tornado

Once you are in the car and in a safe position, there are additional steps you can take to protect yourself during the tornado.

Keep Your Seat Belt On

If you are in a tornado, keep your seat belt fastened throughout the event. The seat belt will help keep you secure in your seat and provide some protection against injury in case of an accident or impact from flying debris.

Protect Your Head

To protect yourself from potential debris entering the vehicle or objects falling from above, duck your head below the windows, and cover it with your hands or a blanket. This will help mitigate the risk of getting hit by flying objects inside or outside the car.

Avoid Hiding Under the Car

While it may seem intuitive to seek shelter under the car, this is dangerous during a tornado. Debris can be blown underneath the vehicle, causing injury or lifting it off the ground. It is best to remain inside and take cover there.

After the Tornado Passes

Once the tornado has passed and it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle cautiously and assess your surroundings for any immediate threats or hazards. Stay away from downed power lines or damaged structures, as they may still pose risks. If you or someone else needs medical attention, call for emergency help immediately.

Drive with Caution

If you need to continue driving after the tornado has passed, exercise caution. Be on the lookout for debris on the road and any hazards caused by the storm. Drive at a slow and controlled speed, and avoid any areas that appear unsafe or have been marked off by authorities.

Check for Damage

Inspect your vehicle for any damage caused by the tornado. Look for broken windows, dents, or other signs of impact. If you notice any significant damage or suspect that your car may be unsafe to drive, seek professional assistance before attempting to move it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can a car withstand a tornado?

While cars are not designed to withstand tornado-force winds, they can provide some protection if proper precautions are taken. It is essential to stay inside the vehicle, fasten your seat belt, and take cover by ducking below the windows and protecting your head.

Q: Should I open the windows in my car during a tornado?

Contrary to popular belief, it is best to keep the windows closed during a tornado. Open windows can allow dangerous wind gusts and debris into the vehicle, putting you at greater risk of injury.

Leave a Comment