Lightning is one of the most extreme weather phenomena and leaves devastating consequences for people and property. Every year, many people are killed or injured due to this extreme weather phenomenon.
Most people who are struck by lightning are in outdoor areas and do not have safe shelter. In particular, driving a car outdoors when it is raining, storming, or thundering is extremely dangerous. Because cars have electrical systems and metals are the basic elements into which the energy of electric current will integrate.
Many drivers may not be aware of the light crashes caused by lightning and are subjective when driving in dangerous weather conditions.
How to tell if your car was struck by lightning. The following article will provide you with detailed and important information on this matter.
1. Is Your Car At Risk Of Being Struck By Lightning?
As you know, most car manufacturers have safety designs in place to protect you from lightning strikes and extreme weather conditions outside while driving.
However, you need to keep in mind that safety protection will be optimal if your car has a hardtop, windows, and doors are completely free of cracks because the lightning can penetrate the crack on the glass and cause damage to the occupants of the car.
The car’s frame and the metal shell will act as a Faraday cage. This is a conductive barrier that helps prevent current from an external source from entering the vehicle. So, if you’re driving a convertible, Jeep Wrangler, or other soft-top vehicles, your ability to protect yourself and your family is greatly reduced.
If these cars are struck by lightning, they will appear to have broken glass, damage to the electrical system, blow out tires and even catch the car on fire.
In particular, the aesthetics of cars in today’s market are becoming more and more advanced, so many manufacturers have started to use fewer metal materials and replace them with highly aesthetic plastics.
However, this will reduce the protection of the car’s Faraday cage and its ability to keep you safe when driving in stormy weather and lightning.
2. How To Tell If Your Car Was Struck By Lightning
Some signs that your car has been struck by lightning will depend heavily on the strength of the current and lead to damage to the exterior of the car or the vehicle as a whole.
If unfortunately, your car is hit by lightning directly with a not too severe degree, the top 3 factors you can easily recognize are the antenna not working, electrical system malfunction or total damage and the tire gradually deflates.
Some other signs such as cracked or broken windows or sudden engine stops, problems related to the brake system, loss of power key, ignition sound, damaged airbags, and the appearance of burns due to a lightning strike on a metal surface.
If your car is lightly struck by lightning, you will only see some damage to the exterior of the car. Some of the most obvious spots are spills or burns on the vehicle’s surface and heavily deflated tires.
3. What If You Are At Risk Of Being Struck By Lightning?
If you are driving on the road and suddenly notice unusual signs of weather such as high winds, dust, lightning, heavy rain, or hail. You should seek safe shelter quickly in enclosed areas with windows and doors closed.
However, if you are driving on a highway or in an area far from a residential area, you need to stop your vehicle in a safe, visible location, and turn on the lights to notify other vehicles to avoid a collision.
In particular, you must not park your car under tall trees, power poles, metal poles, or tall objects because these are the places where lightning is easiest to hit.
If you have small children in the car, put them on your lap, lift your feet off the floor of the car, do not allow touching objects such as steering wheel, door handles, seat belts, gear levers because they are made of metal and has high electrical conductivity.
In particular, if you are using rechargeable electronic devices such as phones, laptops, or power banks, you need to unplug and power off mobile devices using satellite waves.
4. What Should You Do If Your Car Is Struck By Lightning?
If you discover your car has been hit by lightning, stay calm and call 911. Do not touch any metal parts with your hands and wait for the current to pass through all the metal parts and to the ground.
If the strike is just a lightning strike of small and medium intensity, you just need to sit still, lift your feet off the floor and put your hands in your lap to wait for the current to pass. This time is usually very short and leaves few consequences for serious damage to people and properties.
However, if your car has been hit by a strong lightning strike and you notice a burning smell or smoke, get out of the car immediately as the hood may be on fire.
Try to open the car doors with non-conductive materials, avoiding direct contact with seat belts, door handles and metal parts as the current may still be there.
If you have escaped the car, seek safe shelter and stay away from the car as it could catch fire and explode afterward. If you can’t find a haven, sit back down to create as little surface and as low as possible.
In particular, if you have some symptoms such as itching in the arms, elbows, ringing in the ears, headache, skin signs, shortness of breath, and irregular heartbeat, call the medical team because you may have been struck by lightning.
5. Does Insurance Cover Lightning Strikes?
Repairing and replacing parts on cars when struck by lightning is extremely expensive, costing thousands of dollars. However, you do not need to worry too much about this because most insurance plans have the policy to cover the incident of lightning.
The cost of coverage may depend on each insurance plan as well as the area where you live. You can contact insurance companies for exact advice on how much to pay and plan to repair your car.
Lightning is an extreme weather phenomenon and will cause many severe consequences for people and properties. Therefore, you need to be equipped with a lot of detailed information about these incidents while driving.
Stay calm and call for help if you see signs of a car being struck by lightning. Do not touch any metal parts to avoid electric shock.
Ideally, if you have to travel on the highway or in a remote area, don’t forget to check the weather forecast and stop in a safe place if you notice extreme signs of the weather.