Cars Make for Worst Shelter From Tornadoes

Tornado

If you live in the tornado belt, here's an important tip: Your car is not twister-proof.

The United States is experiencing one of its worst tornado seasons in recent memory. Already this year 26 people have died in the tornadoes that have battered Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama and Georgia. At least one-third of those killed died in cars or trucks.

According to the AP, many people cling to the misconception that taking refuge in a car or trying to outrun a tornado is a good decision. In reality, automobiles are among the worst places to be during a tornado because they are not anchored to the ground. Winds of even 100 mph can easily flip the biggest SUV, and glass windows are no match for the dangerous debris a twister can whip up.

These misconceptions also feed the stereotype that tornadoes always hit trailer parks, which isn’t the case. Tornadoes don’t hit trailer parks more frequently, but trailers — like cars — have nothing holding them to the ground and are thus more easily devastated. The best refuge from a tornado is a solid structure, whether that means pulling into a truck stop, a restaurant or a gas station.

Tornado Deaths Underscore Risks of Taking Shelter in Cars (International Herald Tribune)

By Stephen Markley | May 13, 2008 | Comments (2)

Comments 

Infosaur

I would have thought a car's aerodynamics would offer some advantage, but only if it was pointed TOWARDS the wind. As has been shown for years, a car going BACKWARDS at 100mph generates insane lift.

I guess the safest place to go is under a bridge? I've heard of people seeking refuge up under the deck between the I-beams.

Interesting. I just read another article telling people to get inside your car and buckle up rather than to hit a ditch. I think it was the American Red Cross making the change in opinion. However, there was no official comment from the National Weather Service. If it's me, Im getting out of the car.

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