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Driving Away from Tornados

Posted on August 20, 2017

Even if you’ve never seen a tornado in person, you are probably familiar with its distinct funnel shape and its deadly potential.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, “a tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground.” Wind is invisible, so “it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris. Tornados are the most violent of all atmospheric storms.”

For most people, seeing a tornado while driving is a frightening experience. That’s why you should be prepared and know in advance how to react if you spot one while behind the wheel.

What to Do If You Spot a Tornado While Driving

Never purposefully drive toward a tornado. That is a careless and negligent act that could land you or your loved ones in legal trouble if your actions injure your passengers or someone else. Also keep your eyes on the road. Like rubbernecking, gawking at a tornado can cause accidents. Also be sure to comply with all traffic safety laws, even when trying to escape an approaching storm system.

Here are a few other safety tips, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

  • Don’t seek shelter under a highway overpass. This is not a tornado shelter and you will be exposed to flying debris and other dangers. Furthermore, crowding beneath an overpass can cut off potential escape routes for other vehicles and can prevent emergency vehicles from reaching affected areas.
  • If you see a tornado in the distance, drive away from the tornado and seek shelter in a sturdy shelter like a truck stop or restaurant.
  • If the tornado threat is imminent and you have no time to escape, take cover in a ditch or low-lying area. If it’s too late to get out of your car then keep your seatbelt on and cover your head (with a blanket, if available).

Tornado and High Wind Driving Fatalities

In March 2017, an Oklahoma truck driver was killed when strong winds pushed his vehicle off the interstate. Highway Safety Patrol officials say that wind gusts reached 95 miles per hour in the area where the accident occurred.

Three storm chasers pursuing the same system were killed in Texas when one of the chasers ran a stop sign and crashed into a second car driven by another chaser (the third chaser was a passenger in the car that ran the stop sign). All three were killed instantly. The two individuals who ran the stop sign were contractors for The Weather Channel, which demonstrates that even “professional” storm chasers need to take precautions (and comply with traffic safety laws) when driving in bad weather.

Reach Out to Us Today

Contact the law office of Charles Bryan Alred, P.C., today if you are have been injured by a negligent driver. We will help you recover compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.