Is it safe to drive during a thunderstorm? Safety advice for severe weather warnings

  • The advice you need to know before setting of on any journey in bouts of bad weather 

Our summer may have been short lived, as heavy rain, wind and thunderstorms are set to sweep across Britain.

The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings, meaning Britain is set for a ‘taste of autumn‘.

Adverse weather could see gales reach up to 50 to 60 mph in some places, and 40mm rainfall could gather in only a couple of hours. 

The coastal area of southern England is set to be hit by particularly strong winds, while Wales and the Midlands brace themselves for thunderstorms today.

The Met Office has cautioned those in the area about potential lighting strikes to structures, as the thunderstorms are set to rage. 

With ‘short-term’ power losses as well as possible travel chaos on the horizon, what are the necessary precautions to stay safe in severe weather?

Is it safe to drive during a thunderstorm and what happens if my car is struck by lightning? Read on for everything you need to know.

Cars making their way along the flooded country lanes after a night of heavy rainfall 

On August 1, two cars were abandoned  in the middle of the road following heavy rain in Levenshulme, Manchester

Should you drive during a thunderstorm?  

READ MORE: So much for summer! Britain had on average more than 5.5 inches of rain as sunseekers endured the sixth wettest July since records began

Any bad weather can make driving particularly difficult and unsafe and this is also true for thunderstorms.

It is not wise nor safe to drive during bouts of thunder and lightning as driving conditions can become hazardous.

With thunderstorms comes severe downpours of rain as well as strong gales. 

This means roads could be filled with rubbish or potentially flooded, leaving cyclists and motorists driving tall vehicles, such as lorries, in the most danger.

The Met Office advises motorists to lower their speed during storms if they are driving. 

They also urge drivers to give pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists extra room as they are more likely to be pulled to-and-fro by the strong winds.

What do I do if I am stuck in my car during a storm?

If you happen to have poor luck and find a thunderstorm has begun whilst you are completing your journey, then there are several precautions you need to take.

Firstly, you should remain in the vehicle and wind up your windows because most cars have a metal roof and frame.

This means that in the likelihood that a car is struck by lightning, the electricity will pass around those sitting inside the car, and will transfer into the terrain, according to the Met Office.

If you get caught up in thunder and lightning (pictured)  while driving your car you should remain inside the vehicle

However, there are some things to be wary of regardless which includes the following:

  • Electrical current can transfer through other areas in modern cars, such as radio systems, metal interior handles, steering wheels and foot pedals, as well as GPS systems.
  • Your vehicle can be damaged on both the outside and inside if it is hit by lightning. 
  • Vehicles with fabric roofs, such as soft-top convertibles, could be set aflame if they are hit by lightning

What should you have with you?

AA patrol of the year, Nick Powell, recommends daring drivers to download the what3words app (pictured), as well as having a fully charged phone and a full tank

If you decide to travel in bad weather then you do so at your own risk. 

Nick Powell, who is the AA patrol of the year, recommended bringing along a full fuel tank and a fully charged mobile phone along for the journey.

Mr Powell advised drivers to download the what3words and the AA app, so if the worst happens they can be located more quickly. 

He also said to allow additional time for your travel, as well as staying vigilant and keeping one ear on local traffic reports at all times.

He also added caveats about approaching other weather conditions beyond thunderstorms.

‘Never risk driving through flood water and if you find yourself aquaplaning, ease off the accelerator to slow down gently.’

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