(Modern Survival.org) – Tornadoes are awe-inspiring and terrifying forces of nature, capable of great destruction. Hunkering down in a storm shelter is often the best bet when facing one of these cyclones. However, due to the unpredictability of these storms, getting to a shelter in time isn’t always an option.
Driving in a vehicle when a tornado touches down is one of the most unsafe places to be. So what steps are necessary to survive this scenario?
Get Away from the Storm if You Can
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options when encountering a tornado while driving. Trying to outrun a tornado isn’t a good idea — not only can they move at speeds upward of 60 miles per hour (mph), but debris from these storms can travel up to 300 mph in the strongest tornadoes.
Rather than trying to outrun the tornado, make a 90-degree turn away from it and get out of its path. For a tornado approaching from the driver’s side of the vehicle, for example, the driver would need to continue moving forward to get out of its path.
Avoid Seeking Shelter Beneath an Overpass
If you are driving during a tornado, never seek shelter under a bridge or underpass. Television footage often depicts people and vehicle sheltering under bridges, but these are actually dangerous places to be. Bridges and overpasses can amplify the wind speed outside, creating a vacuum which can increase the risk of damage to you and your vehicle.
Best Places to Shelter During a Tornado
When it’s impossible to avoid a tornado, evacuate the vehicle and seek shelter in a sturdy building if possible. Some states, such as Kansas, have tornado shelters built along highways to protect motorists caught in storms.
If sheltering in a building isn’t an option, look for an area nearby that is lower than the level of the roadway, such as a ditch. Park the vehicle and lay down in the depression while covering your head with your hands.
According to spc.noaa.gov/, drivers who encounter tornadoes on the road should take the following steps:
- Pull off to the side of the road and park the vehicle.
- Leave the seatbelt on.
- Place your head down, below the windows, and cover yourself with a jacket, blanket or any other object that will provide protection from broken glass and debris.
The best bet to stay safe in the event of a tornado is to stay off the road altogether if possible. Shelter in place where you are and wait for the storm to pass.
Downed power lines are common occurrences in the aftermath of a tornado. For more information on how to handle a downed power line, click here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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