Magazine article Work & Family Life

What to Do When Lightning Strikes Your Car

Magazine article Work & Family Life

What to Do When Lightning Strikes Your Car

Article excerpt

If you're caught in a lightning storm, should you stay in your car or get out?

The National Lightning Safety Institute tells us to stay in the car-hut not necessarily for the reason you may think.

A car's rubber tires provide no insulating protection, most experts agree. Instead, they explain, it has to do with the conductive nature of a mainly metal vehicle.

Most of the electrical current from a lightning strike is carried on the outside of the conducting object (in this case, your car).

It's a phenomenon called the "skin effect," and the protective shield is sometimes referred to as a "partial Faraday cage."

It was named for the English scientist Michael Faraday, who developed shielding based on the effect.

So drivers in a lightning storm are advised not only to stay within this protective perimeter, but also to not touch any potentially conductive object. …

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