Tornado Hits While Driving

Seeing a tornado while driving can be terrifying. Being prepared and knowing what to do ahead of time can be the difference between life and death. Here are some quick tips to help keep you safe.

Don’t Panic

Staying calm and keeping a level head will allow you to assess the situation quicky and take action. Panicking may cause bad decisions and put you in further danger. Take a deep breath and try to think clearly and calmly.

Get Out of the Tornado’s Path if You Can

Tornados can be unpredictable, however if it is far enough away you may have the time to get away from it. If you can see what direction it is heading, redirect your vehicle and travel in a right angle away from the direction of the funnel. In other words, if it is heading south, you should travel east.

Seek Shelter

In an ideal situation you would be in an area where you could seek protection in a solid structure. Try to find a building to shelter in such as a restaurant, truck stop, convenience store, or grocery store. Head to the basement or find a central room or small protected space away from windows and wait for the storm to pass.

Take Cover if You’re Too Close

If you are too close to the tornado and there are no solid structures nearby, don’t attempt to outrun the tornado as they can move as fast as 60 miles per hour. Instead, consider whether you can safely reach a ditch or other area that is lower than the road. If you see an option nearby, exit your vehicle, get there as quickly as you can, and lay flat while covering your head and neck with your arms. Do not be tempted to seek shelter under an overpass or tunnel as winds will be increased in those areas.

If No Other Option…

If a safer spot outside the vehicle is not an option, pull over, stop the car (but leave it running so the air bags work), and crouch down below the windows. The airbags and frame of the car will offer some amount of protection, but certainly not absolute safety.

Tornados cause great threat to property and life and can be even more harmful to life if you are on the road when it touches down. However, if you have the right information and know what to do, you can stay safe in such a hazardous situation.