Breakdown: Why a car is a dangerous place to be during a tornado

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 2:43 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Although tornadoes are always dangerous, certain locations are better than others when trying to protect yourself during severe weather. A car is one of the worst places to be during a tornado.

During a tornado, objects are lofted in the air and then circulate within and around the tornado at high speeds. This flying debris is what typically results in injuries, which is why you need to protect yourself during a tornado. If you are in a car, you are vulnerable to this debris, even if you are several miles away from the tornado. In addition, a tornado can throw and crush cars, so you don’t want to be stuck in a car when a tornado moves through.

There are a few things you can do if you are caught in your car during a tornado.

The best option is to find a building that you can take shelter in, such as a convenience store or gas station. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which direction the tornado is moving. If you can see the tornado in the distance, the rule of thumb is to move at right angles from the tornado. So if the tornado is moving east, you should drive south.

If you can’t make it to a safe building in time, you should get out of your car and go into a ditch and cover your head.

If the tornado is too close for you to find a ditch or other low lying area, you should buckle your seat belt and try to cover your head.

Whatever you do, do NOT take cover under an overpass. Winds funnel under the overpass and accelerate, so it is actually MORE dangerous.

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