Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is It Safe to Drive During Lightning?


You have almost certainly heard that the best place for you to be in a lightning storm is in your car, but is that really true? Not necessarily. Of course there are worse places to be, like a golf course, or under a big old tree, but is your car really safe? You might think so, but it is not necessarily true.

Probably the reason you think you are safe in your car is that you have been told that the rubber in your tires will protect you from a lightning strike. The truth, though, is that lighting does not go down into your tires and protect you. It actually travels around the outside of your car, and then goes into the ground underneath it, and that is how you are protected. The problem is that not all cars are created equally. Here is why:

  • Do you love your convertible? Good. But it does not have a metal roof. The lightning won’t travel around the car and go into the ground – more likely, it will hit you.

  • Many cars today are made out of fiberglass, not metal – and electricity will not flow through fiberglass.

  • Lightning can flow through your car’s electrical system, including your radio, GPS or cell phone charger.

  • Lightning loves metal – steering columns, door handles, steering wheels and foot pedals.

So, lightning loves your car. And that means, bottom line, although you are safest in a metal-roofed vehicle in a lightning storm, you can still end up being hurt. Your tires will not protect you. So, if you are driving in a lightning storm, pull over. Do not use your radio. Do not talk on your cell phone – trust us, this is one time when even ET will not phone home, because phoning home could get ET fried.

Pull over. Turn off your engine. Turn off your hazard lights. And wait. Once the storm has passed, you can resume driving. And if the worst happens, and your car is hit by lightning, make sure that you wait until you are absolutely certain that the electrical current has moved through your vehicle and gone into the ground. How do you know when that has happened? Realistically, if you’re still in the middle of the storm, you don’t know, so wait until the storm is over. That is the only time that you can be sure it is safe to either continue driving, or get out of your vehicle.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...

Related questions

Q: Computer taken out by close lightning strike.

[The National Lightning Safety Institute](( reports that some vehicles struck by lightning experience external damage, including pitting and arcing, as well as internal damage to electronic systems and components. It is pretty likely that an electric pulse from the lightning...

Q: What airbag system safety precautions should I be aware of and follow?

The Airbag System keeps passengers safe in the event of a crash. There are several safety precautions to take with the Airbag System. To properly take the Airbag System safety precautions. Do not place or mount objects on or...

Q: How do I use the ParkView rear back up camera?

The ParkView rear back up camera gives you extra vision when backing up. The camera is located on the rear of the vehicle, to the left of the trailer hitch. When you put your car in REVERSE, the ParkView system...