Is it safe in a car during a lightning storm?

Driving in any extreme conditions carries with it additional risks. Monsoon rains, gales that buffer the car while you drive or lightning storms are weather events best avoided, but sometimes we have to make journeys we otherwise would avoid so is it safe in a car during a lightning storm?
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Are you safe within the vehicle?

A lot of drivers believe that they’re safe from lightning because the rubber in the car’s tyres will conduct with the road surface beneath them. That’s wrong. The tyres aren’t the main concern, the materials used in the car’s construction determine whether it’s a safe or dangerous place to be during an electrical storm. A full-enclosed car made from all-metal is very safe because the lightning goes around the car rather than through it. Convertible cars, vehicles made with fibreglass bodywork or any car with an open window are not as safe. In 2014 there were 7 reported deaths in the US from lightning, including one man struck while riding a motorbike, while another man was hit while he closed the windows of his car.

Safety first

Rather than continuing your journey, pull over on the side of the road. Put your hands in your lap so you don’t touch items like the door handles and gear lever and wait for the storm to end hoping that you don't get struck by lightning.

Damage to your vehicle

This isn’t something you should be bothered about really but a lot of us put money into cars so no wonder you’re asking the question. The car’s metal will direct the lightning bolt to the ground but the bodywork can be damaged in the process. The sort of damage you might see when the storm passes includes pitting and burn marks. You might also have some issues with the car’s electrics.

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