Cars Make for Worst Shelter From Tornadoes


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)



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.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App