Tips for Staying Safe While Driving during Severe Weather
The National Weather Service has confirmed that three tornadoes touched down in Middle Tennessee near Nashville on Wednesday afternoon during a period when severe weather hit the area.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the first tornado touched down in Davidson County near Four Corners Marina. The twister caused major damage to the marina on its path that originated near Cane Ridge Park.
A second tornado was reported in Williamson County just north of Franklin. It caused damage to property beginning near Fieldstone Park all the way to Cool Springs Galleria shopping center. Finally, the third tornado is reported to have touched down in Watertown, Tennessee.
All three tornadoes were classified as EF-1. In addition to property damage, the storms also damaged several trees, including some that fell in Clarksville and trapped people inside a home. The incident caused a child and an adult to suffer minor injuries.
Drivers were urged to be extremely cautious in the Cool Springs area due to the presence of downed power lines, fallen trees, and malfunctioning traffic lights.
Around 12,000 Nashville Electric Service customers lost power yesterday because of the storm, but most outages were restored by around 10 p.m.
Follow These Guidelines to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Although the best option for staying safe during a storm is to simply stay home, that’s not always possible—especially if the storm takes you by surprise while you’re already in your vehicle. If you’re driving during severe weather, especially if there’s a threat of a tornado or an actual tornado nearby, you can follow a few important steps that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and American Red Cross recommend to protect yourself and your family, such as:
- Don’t take shelter under an overpass or in a ditch.
There’s a myth that taking shelter under highway overpasses or in ditches and low-lying areas is a safe place to be during a tornado. However, these places offer little to no protection from things like flying debris, lighting, hail, and extreme wind. Only use these locations as last resorts if there aren’t any safer options available.
- Get to a sturdy shelter as soon as possible.
Instead of opting for a ditch or underpass, experts recommend driving towards a sturdy building as soon as possible and taking shelter inside. If you’re on the interstate and near an exit, they recommend taking shelter inside truck stops, convenience stores, and restaurants. Once inside, go to the lowest level of the building and into a hallway or room without windows that’s closest to the center of the building.
- If no other options are available, drive at a right angle away from the tornado.
Tornadoes often follow straight-line paths. If you can see a tornado in the distance that’s traveling east, drive south to put as much distance between your vehicle and its path as possible. However, don’t try to outrun tornadoes that are close to your location.
- Buckle up and cover your head if a tornado is near your vehicle.
If your vehicle is near a tornado and you don’t have an opportunity to seek shelter, experts recommend buckling your seat belt, covering your head with a blanket or a hard object, and keeping your head below your windshield and windows. Broken glass and debris can be the biggest threat during this time, and protecting your head can save your life.
Driving during periods of severe weather can be both stressful and frightening. Being prepared and having an action plan in place—just as you would before and after an auto accident—can help you get to safety and maximize your chances of avoiding injury during major storms. The NOAA says that one of the most important aspects of staying safe is not panicking and simply taking the safest option that’s available to you, whether it means getting to a sturdy building or protecting yourself as best you can in your vehicle.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys knows that lives can change in an instant, whether it’s due to severe weather or an unexpected car crash. If you or someone you know was injured in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent driver, our legal team may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. To find out how we can assist you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.