Thompson Sales Discusses Lightning Safety and Your Vehicle

May 20th, 2020 by

Flash of forked lightning in front of a car during a daytime thunderstorm

The staff at Thompson Sales loves the warmer weather that spring brings, even though it means the return of serious rainstorms. Spring and early summer storms crop up in the Ozarks every year. Some storms can get intense, with loud thunder, lightning flashing everywhere, and even hail and high winds. Read on as Thompson Sales explains the details in our lightning safety guide.

Rubber Tires

Although many reports say people are safe inside of cars during a lighting strike, there are some myths to this notion. Rubber tires do indeed insulate you from a lightning strike. Your car acts like a device called a Faraday cage, where electricity travels through all of the metal parts before hitting the rubber tires and the ground. There is one major caveat to this: You cannot be touching anything metal in your car at the time the electricity passes through. Avoid touching radio knobs, gearshifts, or the outside of your car if you’re caught in a lightning storm. 

Storm Passing By

The safest thing to do during an intense lightning storm is to pull off to the side of the road, turn off the engine, and sit in the car with your hands in your lap to make sure you do not touch anything. Avoid stopping underneath trees or any temporary structure that could collapse or catch fire during a thunderstorm.

Car Damage

Your vehicle’s rubber tires can save your life during a lightning strike. Unfortunately, your car may face damage. Lightning is intensely hot, sometimes 50,000 degrees or more. High temperatures, even if they last for less than a second, can melt parts of your car. You’ll see a small explosion of sparks. 

Some metal parts of your car may melt, including the antenna. The electrical system may be damaged, causing your battery to fail and everything that runs on electricity to fail. Think windshield wipers, automatic windows, and the radio. Your tires might melt because they’re made of rubber. The defrosting wires in your rear window may cause the window to shatter. If you need car repair after a lightning strike, Thompson Sales can help.

Remember, the Odds Are Low

Getting struck by lightning in your car is extremely rare. The odds of lightning striking you are 1 in 700,000 every year. Talking on the telephone outside of your house is the leading cause of death due to a lightning strike. Still, it’s better to be safe when you’re driving through an electrical storm if you think the lightning is getting too close.

Thompson Sales: Here for You

Thompson Sales has been around more than 100 years. We’re a family-owned business that started in 1919. Not only do we want your family to be safe in your car, but we also want you to enjoy your vehicle. Check out our lineup of new GMC, Buick, or Cadillac vehicles on our lot. Call us at (417) 763-6811 if you have any questions.

Posted in Driving Tips