Missouri Drivers: What to do if you’re in the car during a tornado?

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It’s that time of year again, St. Louis! Missouri’s tornado season begins March 1st 2016. As the weather warms up, we start seeing more and more harsh winds and even dreaded tornadoes headed toward our Midwest state. It’s important to know the best places for shelter wherever you may be when a tornado hits.
We’ve had it drilled into our heads from an early age that those tornado sirens mean you should head to the lowest level of the building, lie down far away from windows, and cover your head and neck. But what do you do if a tornado hits while you’re driving in your car?
The St. Louis car accident lawyers at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers have put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind during tornado season.

DO: Look for warning signs

We don’t want you to be paranoid every time you get in the car when it’s raining, but it is important to know the conditions that suggest tornadoes are near. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests drivers should seek shelter immediately under the following conditions:

  • Dark or green-colored sky
  • Large hail
  • Large, Low-flying cloud
  • Gust of wind that sounds like a train

DON’T: Try to outrun a tornado in your car

If you spot a tornado, do not try to outrun it. It’s not a car chase in a movie. Tornados are faster than cars. Just don’t do it.

DO: Pull over and go inside a sturdy building

The best place to be is on the lower level of a building, away from any windows. Avoid big cafeteria-style rooms if possible as they may collapse in the middle.

DON’T: Hide under an overpass

It seems counterintuitive, but seeking shelter under an overpass is not that safe. Winds can actually be worse under an overpass, and you can get hit by flying debris. It’s safer to lie down in a lower level of the roadway if no buildings are nearby.

DO: Get out of your car

If there are no buildings nearby, there are ways to keep yourself safe. If you see a tornado, stop your car. If you can safely get to a ditch or lower level, get out of your car and lie down as low as possible. Cover your head with your hands, or a blanket if possible. Make sure you are a safe distance from your car.
If the roadway is the lowest accessible ground, however, it is safer to stay in your vehicle. Lower your head below the windows, and cover your head with your hands or a blanket.

DO: Check the news after the storm passes

When the storm has passed and debris is no longer flying around, the Red Cross suggests that you carefully get up and assess the area around you. Check to see if you’re injured or if those around you are injured. If anyone is hurt, contact 911 immediately.
At this point, you may turn on the radio or check the news on your cell phone to see if there are any more tornadoes headed in your direction. If your family knew you were out on the road, now is a good time to let them know you’re okay.
If your car was damaged or carried off by the storm, ask your friends or family to pick you up after the National Weather Service has given the all clear.

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