Drivers in the storm: How safe is your car when lightning strikes?

By DPA | 28 September 2020


BERLIN: Cars are rarely struck by lightning, but when it does happen, the design of the vehicle usually means those inside are safe.

That's the reassuring news from the experts at Europe's largest car club, the ADAC, who say that the sheet metal that the car is made of acts like what's known as a Faraday cage, diverting the charge.

But if you're driving in a thunderstorm, you still probably shouldn't touch any metal parts that might be connected to the bodywork.

Also, make sure to close all windows and the sunroof, and retract any antennae, as far as possible. To reduce the likelihood of being struck by lightning, avoid parking at high, exposed points.

And if you're out and about in a convertible, don't fear: They're constructed so the top has a metal rod to channel the charge, together with the windshield's frame, roll bar and roof mechanics.

Campers should shut doors, windows and a folding roof on the motor home or caravan. Don't wash the dishes, take a shower or touch any metal parts of the equipment until the storm is over.

If you're plugged into a power supply at the campsite, then you may want to disconnect the cable temporarily.

Worst off in storms are motorcyclists and bikers, as they are much more exposed than campers or motorists.

They should ideally shelter under a bridge or roof, says the ADAC. But take care to avoid metal constructions like power grids, as well as trees and fences - and stay away from high ground as far as you can.

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