How To Know If A Tornado Will Damage Your Car: A Guide
Tornadoes are a very real threat in the United States. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. When tornadoes strike, they can cause catastrophic damage to homes, businesses, and cars. While some people are fortunate enough to be able to get to safety in a basement or storm cellar, there's not much you can do if you're driving when a tornado strikes.
A tornado is a violent storm that brings high-speed winds capable of ripping entire buildings out of the ground and throwing them hundreds of yards away. They can easily damage or destroy cars, depending on their location and the severity of the storm. Tornadoes with wind speeds greater than 250 mph can leave a trail of destruction up to 50 miles long and 1 mile wide.
What makes tornadoes so dangerous is that it's not always clear if one is coming until it's too late. This is why drivers need to know what signs to look for before heading out onto the road.
How Do You Know If A Tornado Is Approaching?
When a tornado watch is issued, that means conditions are right for tornadoes to develop. You should listen closely for updates through local media and stay alert for approaching storms. When a tornado warning is issued, it means a tornado has been spotted (or indicated by radar) and could be headed your way. Take shelter immediately if you're in the path of the storm.
Significant signs of an approaching tornado include:
- An extremely dark, sometimes greenish sky and large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud, continuous roar or rumble
- A funnel cloud (a visible rotating extension of the cloud base down to the ground)
Protecting Your Car From A Tornado
There are several ways to protect your car from the damage a tornado can cause. Depending on the severity of the storm and its proximity, you'll have to find somewhere safe to park your vehicle to avoid having it thrown around like a toy. If you do have to drive during a tornado warning, make sure your car is filled with gas and that you have an emergency kit in case your vehicle gets stuck or disabled.
If there is a tornado watch or warning for the area where you live or work, make sure your valuables are stored inside your vehicle, as well as any important documents such as your insurance cards. You may also want to fill up with gas before the storm hits in case of power outages disrupt supply chains and leave you without fuel.
How to know if a tornado will damage cars depends on:
- The size of your car and the strength of the tornado winds
- How close you are to the center of the tornado
- Whether you are in a parking lot or on the street
- What kind of objects are near your cars, such as trees or light poles
The larger your car and the closer it is to the center of a tornado, the more damage it will likely experience. That's because wind speeds increase as you get closer to the center of a tornado.
Find Shelter For Yourself And Family First
Before considering protecting your vehicle from a tornado, make sure you have taken steps to protect yourself and your family. Tornadoes are dangerous storms and often come with little or no warning. The National Weather Service recommends finding shelter immediately when a tornado warning is issued for an area. Please make sure all family members understand the safest location within their homes. It may be appropriate to use a basement or storm cellar if one is available on the property. If there are no basements or storm cellars in the home, the safest locations include interior rooms on the lowest level and away from windows.
The Best Way to Protect Your Vehicle from Tornado Damage
The best way to protect your vehicle from tornado damage is by driving it to a secure underground garage. If you don't have access to a safe underground parking area, leaving your vehicle parked outside during a tornado can result in significant damage and bodily injury. The strong winds can propel items through the air at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. These projectiles can hit your vehicle with enough force to cause substantial damage or even roll the car over. In some cases, vehicles left outside during a tornado have been lifted and thrown, causing them to land on top of other vehicles or buildings and kill the driver and other occupants inside.
If you are caught in your car when a tornado strikes, you should take some extra steps to protect yourself. Keep all doors closed, and windows rolled up to avoid flying debris from entering the car. Lay face down on the floor of your car and cover your head with your hands while keeping away from any windows or glass that could shatter during the storm.
After the storm ends, check for damage such as broken glass, dents, holes in the roof and trunk from flying objects, loose or missing parts, and leaking fluids. You will also want to take photos of any damage before making repairs or having your car towed to an auto body shop.
Always Be ClimaGuard Ready!
Even if you live in an area where tornadoes aren't common, it never hurts to be prepared. After all, you never know when you might be on the road and find yourself in the path of one of these destructive storms.
Being prepared for these storms can help you keep your car, your family, and yourself safe. Knowing how to tell if a tornado is headed towards you lets you take necessary precautions before it's too late. No one wants to think about disaster strikes, but by preparing yourself now, you can save yourself a lot of worries later.
Always be ClimaGuard ready! Visit our website to know more car safety tips.