By Stephen Markley on May 12, 2008
If you live in the tornado belt, here's an important tip: Your car is not twister-proof.
The United States is experiencing one of its worst tornado seasons in recent memory. Already this year 26 people have died in the tornadoes that have battered Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama and Georgia. At least one-third of those killed died in cars or trucks.
According to the AP, many people cling to the misconception that taking refuge in a car or trying to outrun a tornado is a good decision. In reality, automobiles are among the worst places to be during a tornado because they are not anchored to the ground. Winds of even 100 mph can easily flip the biggest SUV, and glass windows are no match for the dangerous debris a twister can whip up.
These misconceptions also feed the stereotype that tornadoes always hit trailer parks, which isn’t the case. Tornadoes don’t hit trailer parks more frequently, but trailers — like cars — have nothing holding them to the ground and are thus more easily devastated. The best refuge from a tornado is a solid structure, whether that means pulling into a truck stop, a restaurant or a gas station.
Tornado Deaths Underscore Risks of Taking Shelter in Cars (International Herald Tribune)