If you’re driving along and a storm’s brewing, it may seem sensible to pull over, get out of the car and shelter under some trees to prevent being involved in road traffic accidents; however, trees are potentially incredibly dangerous during an electrical storm and they are best avoided.
Why is it dangerous to stand under trees?
Usually, trees provide good shelter when it’s tipping it down outside and the roads are slippery and you can’t see very far in front of you; however, in a storm, standing under trees can be treacherous. This is because lightning can strike and electricity is likely to travel through the highest objects, as it is easier than travelling through air, which has low conductivity. Electricity can travel through the air, but if there is a building, a tree or a tower of some sort in the way, it will travel through this instead. If you’re in an open area, a tree is likely to be the highest object and this means that there is risk of lightning striking the tree.
When lightning strikes a tree, the impulses travel down the side of the tree and if there is a human body within touching distance, the impulses will strike the person, as water is a better conductor than tree bark. The strike subsequently hits the tree and the person and may result in fatal injuries.
Safety tips for driving in a storm
If a storm is forecast, the safest thing to do is postpone your journey; driving in torrential rain with poor visibility increases the risk of accidents on the road and subsequent car crash injuries. If your journey is essential, drive slowly and very carefully, keep both hands on the wheel at all times, use your wipers and your lights and give other vehicles plenty of time and space. If there is a sudden downpour, which prevents you from being able to see around you, pull over in a lay-by or a safe place, such as a car park, and wait for the rain to pass to reduce the risk of collisions on the road.
If you have had a road accident in the last 3 years and you were not to blame, you may wish to claim car crash compensation. To find out more about making a road accident claim against a negligent driver, contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 for no win, no fee* advice.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice