Driving on a long and quiet highway is often peaceful and relaxing, that is until a tornado approaches. Tornados can pop up out of nowhere and create damage in just mere minutes, which is why it can be so scary to be caught on the highway when one is near.
Tornados happen most often during the spring and summer, which is when many people are on road trips or find themselves in the middle of the country (where tornados are most prevalent).
Though tornados should be taken seriously, you don’t need to panic if you find yourself near one while driving on the highway.
Here is what you should do if you find yourself on a highway during a tornado:
Depending on where you are, try to get off the highway as quickly as possible. If you notice an exit is just a couple of miles away, head there and look for a place with shelter (gas station, hotel, etc).
However, if you’re truly in the middle of nowhere and there’s no exit for miles, do not try to drive through a tornado. I know storm chasers look cool on TV, but trust me, it is not safe. Like I said above, tornados move fast and you definitely don’t want to try to outrun a tornado.
Unfortunately, many people who are caught driving on the highway when a tornado appears head towards a bridge or tunnel for shelter.
Do not do this. In fact, being under a bridge or a tunnel during a tornado is the last place you want to be.
Overpasses tend to channel high winds, which can cause serious damage. In fact, you’re better standing out in an open field than you are under a bridge.
So let’s say you don’t have enough time to pull off at an exit but you have do have a little bit of time to find a safer place, take shelter in a low ditch. It is better to be away from your car if possible, but don’t stress if all you see is flat land.
If you don’t have enough time to take shelter (or all you see around you is flat land), stay in your car.
Though it may not feel like it, It is going to be the safest place for you. Make sure to keep your seatbelt on (should the car rollover) and stay low.
Put your head below the windows — in case the glass breaks — and cover it with your hands. If you happen to have a blanket or sweatshirt in the car put that over your head as well. Stay in this position until the storm has passed or until you know it’s safe to continue driving.