Is A Car Really A Safe Place To Be When Lightning Strikes?

Some people may think that the rubber tires on a car help to protect a driver and occupants from a lightning strike, but this is a myth. It is what’s sitting on top of the tires that makes the difference.

A fully-enclosed, all-metal vehicle is very safe, but don’t touch interior metallic areas on a vehicle. The lightning charge goes around the outside of the vehicle, creating a Faraday effect and protecting the occupants inside.

Unfortunately most vehicles made within recent years are not entirely made from metal but fiber materials. Fiberglass vehicles, convertibles or a vehicle with windows open, however, help defeat the fully enclosed objective.

Though it’s recommended that if you are caught up in a lightning storm while driving, it’s safe to pull off to the side of the road. If there’s no shelter within reach, stay in your car, turn off the engine, put your hands in your lap and do not touch anything else such as the door and the window handles, steering wheel and gear shift.

Heavy equipments such as bulldozers and backhoes with rollover canopies are safe during thunderstorms, but not driven mowers and golf carts.

While a car provides some protection from lightning, as the metal frame directs lightning currents to the ground, vehicles can still be damaged by a strike. Lightning damage to a vehicle includes pitting, arcing and burning along with electrical system issues.

Be very observant, if you are in a lightning prone area, any storm building up from the horizon should be taken seriously. It’s safer to stay in doors till the storm passes.

Hope this comes useful to you. Please drop any additional comment that will be beneficial to everyone. Drive Safe!

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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