Got a Tornado in Your Rearview Mirror? Here’s How to Stay Safe

It’s one of the worst-case scenarios for drivers: you’re heading to your destination when suddenly, a storm kicks up, you hear sirens going off, and the radio tells you that you’re in a tornado warning or that a funnel cloud has been spotted near you. With the ominous clouds looming around you, you’re not terribly sure which steps you should take next. What do you do?

If a tornado ever touches down while you’re on the road, you need to do all that you can to stay safe. Here’s how you can do just that:

Know the Warnings Signs – It’s always a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the signs that a tornado could be nearby. This includes the following:

*Large hail and heavy rain, followed by a calm period and a sudden shift in the wind

*Low, dark clouds that appear to be rotating

*A deep rumbling that sounds as if a freight train is approaching

*Swirling debris on the ground

Whenever you see these signs, try to make your way to safe place before the tornado even has a chance to touch down. If you have no choice but to be in your car, there are other steps you can take.

Seek Shelter Immediately – If a tornado is far off in the distance, try driving away from it, moving at 90-degree angles from its path. While you’re doing that, try to find a sturdy building for shelter (never under a highway overpass!). Banks and restaurants tend to be strong structures.

Never Outrun a Close Tornado – If a tornado winds up touching down very close to you, do not outrun it! Instead, pull over, duck down below the windows in your vehicle, keep your seatbelt fastened, and cover your head with your hands or a blanket to protect yourself from glass and flying debris.

Stay Low to the Ground – You can also pull over, get out of your vehicle, and take cover in a low-lying ditch on the side of the road, if at all possible. Make sure to cover your head with your hands or a blanket. You should only consider doing this if you can do so safely.

Take Care After the Tornado Passes – As soon as the tornado passes, remember to be extra careful and avoid dangerous debris, including broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay far away from downed power lines, and don’t enter buildings that have sustained heavy damage.

Whether you’re driving to work on a sunny day or find yourself caught in a storm, it’s always a good idea to stay protected with a solid auto insurance policy from Madison Mutual. Call your agent at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC to update your policy today!