Driving your car in bad weather is stressful no matter what the elements. "Science Daily" reported in 2008 that 24 percent of automobile accidents occur during bad weather. This, in large part, is due to drivers' failures to slow down, even in rainy, icy, or snowy conditions. Automobile and tire technology have evolved over the years to make cars safer in inclement weather. Drivers still have a responsibility to learn how to drive their cars safely when the weather turns sour, however. Don't become part of an unsavoury statistic of somebody who caused an accident by driving too fast or carelessly in bad weather.
Drivers must worry about more than the thunder and lightning when driving in thunderstorms. In some parts of the country, severe thunderstorms precede tornadoes, and nobody wants to be on the road should one develop. It is critical to know what to expect when driving in thunderstorms, so tune the car radio to a weather station that will give the appropriate warning of any impending tornado activity. Also follow the rules of driving in the rain, even if the thunderstorm is a dry one. Turn on the car's low-beam headlights, slow down, and allow for extra braking distance should the cars ahead need to stop suddenly or get into an accident. If the thunderstorm becomes unruly, find a safe place to pullover away from trees, electrical poles, or any other potential falling hazard, turn off the car, and wait the thunderstorm out.
- "USA Today": Thunderstorm Safety Guide
- Upper Merion Township: Storm Safety Tips
- The University of Alabama: Thunderstorms and Lightening
- University of South Alabama: Thunderstorms and Tornadoes (PDF File)
The best approach for driving in a tornado is don't -- period. To go out during the threat of these wind tunnels is a no-win situation. Even if drivers are already out on the road and the weather shifts to a tornado threat suddenly, drivers still need to stop operating their vehicles. Tornadoes are highly unpredictable and can shift on the drop of dime; trying to race or out-manoeuvre a tornado is too dangerous to chance. Pulling over and staying in the car is also too dangerous to chance, as tornadoes can pick up and move cars miles away. Instead of attempting to drive away from a tornado, drivers should immediately seek the proper shelter, get out of their cars, and take cover until the tornado passes and it is safe to resume driving again.
- Iowa State University: Safety During Tornadoes
- Harvard Health Publications: How to Survive a Tornado
- The Portal of Texas History: Cars Driving After a Tornado
- North Carolina School Bus Safety: Tornado Preparedness