Cars and tornadoes: what to do and not to do if you are in your car when the tornado strikes
Tornadoes are probably one of the most dangerous natural disasters, because they are fast-traveling, unpredictable, and can and will sweep up anything that isn’t anchored to the ground. And they will be even more dangerous if you are traveling in a car once it strikes, because tornadoes are know to sweep up cars and carry them hundreds of the yard, mangling them into unrecognizable aluminum piles. So let me tell you what do and not to do if you are in your car when the tornado touches down in your area.
Jumping in the car and driving away is an instinct for many people, who hear that a tornado is raging close by. But meteorologists say that trying to be faster than the tornado and trying to outrun it actually is one of the worst thing you can do. Tornadoes tend to travel up to 60 miles per hour and even though most cars can go faster than that, tornadoes aren’t limited to traveling only on the roads like cars are. So by trying to outrun a tornado, you will increase the chance of the tornado sweeping you up in it.
What you can do, however, if you are in your car and want to get away from the tornado is to drive in a 90-degree angle away from the storm. Use GPS to determine the right angle and then drive, because this way you will be putting some distance between you and the tornado, and making sure that there is no way that the road you are traveling on will suddenly lead you right in front of the path of the tornado.
But if you don’t want to risk it, then your best bet is to find a storm shelter close by, leave your vehicle and go there. The shelter doesn’t have to be an official one, you can also seek shelter in any sturdy building or a basement of a house, if its owners agree. This way you will probably will be the safest, because it is much harder to bring down a building than to sweep up a car. Some people are known to crawl under their cars once a tornado hits, because there were no buildings near by to seek shelter in, but that is an awful idea and a great example of what not to do. Why? Because the wind of the tornado could turn over your car, dropping it on you in the process or sweep you up in the eye of the storm along with your car. If this is the predicament you find yourself in then crouching down in a low-lying ditch will be your best bet to survive the tornado.
And finally also don’t stop under an overpass or a bridge if a tornado is near you. It might seem like a good idea to wait out the storm under an overpass, but because an overpass is above ground, it is more likely to collapse or at least create falling debris. And you do not want to be under there if that happens. Over all he safest place during a tornado will always be sturdy basements and buildings, so seek shelter there, and you should be safe.