Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
9:28 AM 2nd November 2023

How To Drive Safely Through Thunderstorms

Image by Joe from Pixabay
Image by Joe from Pixabay
Motorists have been told what to do when the heavens open and how to stay safe whilst driving through a thunderstorm.

Road safety company Road Angel have issued advice to drivers on how to protect themselves and others whilst travelling through a storm and rain.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain are forecast for large parts of the country this week.

Driving through these adverse conditions can be extremely dangerous and all road users should proceed with due care and attention.

One of the most important things to do is slow down well below the speed limit and remain inside the vehicles.

Most cars will act as a ‘Faraday Cage’, where the metal roof and frame force the lightning around the vehicle and on to the ground.

Gary Digva, founder of Road Angel, also advises drivers navigating a storm to immediately tune into local radio stations to get the latest updates on the torrential weather.

He said:
“Listening to the local news will provide you with the latest weather updates so you can stay up to date with how bad the situation is.

“However, drivers also need to be aware if they are travelling near any lightning strikes. Although safe in the metal body of a car, many interior features are metal surfaces (such as the radio) and therefore can be dangerous electricity conductors.

“When it is getting difficult to see your surroundings and the weather is only getting worse, drivers should consider safely pulling over, turning off the car and sitting tight for the storm to pass.

Here is Road Angel’s safety guide to driving through summer thunderstorms:

Stay inside the car

The first thing drivers may think to do is to pull over and run inside to safety, but actually, everyone should stay inside in the vehicle with the windows up. Cars have a metal roof and frame which acts as a ‘Faraday Cage’, which passes any lightning currents around the car and straight to the ground.

Don’t touch metal surfaces

Although the inside of the car will generally be the safest place to wait out a storm whilst travelling, metal surfaces such as the radio and handles will be dangerous to touch, especially if there is lightning outside. Metal is a conductor of electricity from the lightning which may lead to electric shocks. Driving close to lightning may mean pulling over safely, turning off the vehicle, keeping your hands in your lap away from anything.

Watch out for the wind

Often with summer thunderstorms comes sudden gusts of strong winds, putting some of the most vulnerable road users at serious risk. Drivers should watch out for pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists as they could easily be blown around.

Slow down

It’s an imperative to keep the speed down and ensure you build up distance with the vehicle in front. Slower speeds will give drivers more reaction times in case of any striking lightning, hail or unexpected heavy rains, as well as reducing the distance travelled if knocked around by winds.

Consider pulling over

When the storm continues getting more and more severe and it is getting difficult to see anything in front of you, seriously consider pulling over to a safe, isolated spot and stay inside the car.

Listen to the radio

Find a local station to tune into to stay up to date with the latest weather updates and what is happening on the roads up ahead. Large storms that are covering a particular area will often receive constant coverage on local radios to inform drivers the latest on the thunderstorm.

To find out more about driving safely through summer thunderstorms, please visit