Tornado Safety While Driving

tornado safety

Tornado Safety While Driving

11:44 18 May in Insurance

Do you and your family know what to do during a tornado, while traveling?

Although a fascinating phenomenon, tornadoes have the potential to be extremely devastating. They also possess the potential to hit with little warning. As tornado season makes its return the Prairie and we begin our summer travels, Ihry is here to make sure you are properly educated on tornado safety while driving.

As quickly as darkness the hits and the Earth becomes eerily still, your radio is calling out in its chill-inducing, emergency frequency. What now?

Fun Fact: The awful screeching, that is the Emergency Alert System, is actually a digitized code communicating type of threat, area (typically counties) threatened, and how long the threat is in place.

Tornado is Far

If the tornado is not an immediate threat, and you become aware of its location, the recommended action is to drive out of the tornado’s path at right angles. Once you find yourself traveling away from, and out of, the path of the tornado, seek the following shelters:

  • Truck stops
  • Convenience stores
  • Restaurants
  • Homes
  • Banks

Seek locations with either a basement, walk-in cooler, or safe. The more walls you put between you and the tornado, the better.

Tornado is Close

If the threat is immediate, or you find yourself caught in extreme winds with flying debris, park your car immediately. According the NOAA, you are advised to do one of the following:

  1. Remain in your vehicle with your seat belt secure. Protect your head and face with a jacket, blanket, cushion, or by ducking.
  2. Exit your vehicle and get yourself lower than the road. Duck and cover.

What Not To Do

Because of issues with flying debris, there are two actions you should NEVER take when attempting to protect yourself. And they might surprise you.

  1. Never seek shelter underneath a highway overpass. If you have ever been in a tornado situation while driving, you have probably seen people congregate under these passes. Winds can be substantially higher in these openings and you become a stationary target for debris.
  2. Due to the risk of debris falling on top of you, never seek shelter underneath your car.


Staying Informed

Although safety is your most important objective, stay informed about the current situation should be your next focus. Here are our recommended actions and mobile apps to help you stay ahead of the storm.

  • Locate local weather emergency channels on your car’s radio.
  • Register for weather alerts on your smartphone, or download one of the following recommended apps:
    • Tornado by the American Red Cross (Free, iOS & Android) – This app sounds an alarm when a tornado warning has been issued in your area. It then notifies you when the warning is no longer in effect.
    • Storm Eye (Free, iOS & Android) – Offer local storm details from the National Weather Service. Details, such as hail size, storm path, location, and intensity, are all provided.
    • TornadoSpy+ ($2.99, iOS) – This app has become popular for its ability to spot storms and notify users, before the NOAA. Additionally, when users spot a storm, they are able to send real-time warnings that are immediately received by all users. Using AccuSpy technology, false alerts are filtered out.

RadarScope ($10, iOS & Android) – Radarscope is the go-to-app for professional storm chasers and meteorologists. The app gives real-time information about relative distance of user in relation to the storm. 


Tornadoes are a real threat to our area. Keep you and your family safe and make sure to pass this knowledge on to all those who may be caught in one of these situations.