Not Surprised? Rubber Tires Don’t Protect You in a Vehicle During a Lightning Strike

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Did you think your always safe in your vehicle in a lightning storm? Think again.

You have probably heard it before. You’re safe in your car because rubber tires prevent lightning from grounding through your car or SUV or truck. Well it is probably safer than running through a parking lot or open field, but it is not a totally safe haven. It’s a myth.

Anna Smith was in her SUV when it was struck by lightning. When the lightning struck her SUV, it started the SUV on fire and melted the door locks. A Blue Earth County Sheriff Deputy rescued her from her vehicle stopped on the shoulder on a highway in Minnesota.

No place is completely safe in a lightning storm. Not a dugout. Not a park shelter. And definitely not standing in the middle of an open field or parking lot.

Lightning puts firefighters at risk on aerial ladders, brings down power lines and often starts roof fires.

If you experience very loud thunder with simultaneous lightning flash, and you think your home may have been struck by lightning; look for signs of fire. Check upstairs to see if you smell smoke or see smoke. Look at you electric panel but do not touch it until you are sure it is safe to contact. Check you outlets for signs of smoke or burning smell. If anything looks abnormal, call the fire department immediately.

Even near-miss lightning strikes can cause damage to clocks, electrical equipment and burglar/fire alarms. Proceed with caution if you check outdoors after a suspected lightning strike. Downed power lines or a damaged chimney, for example, could present serious power hazards.

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