Is it safe to drive in a thunderstorm?

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Thunderstorms have hit the UK a lot in recent weeks, unleashing heavy downpours which led to flooding and disruption all of which can endanger lives. One common myth is that lightning is attracted to metal and vehicles are large metal boxes. So is it actually safe for you to drive in a thunderstorm?

Thunderstorms can hit regions at any time and during the summer months thunderstorms in the UK can likely produce large hail, gusty winds and torrential downpours.

The weather can cause disruption to travel and damage property.

One of the most notable aspects of thunderstorms can be the localised nature of the impacts they could bring.

Thunderstorms can bring large rainfall amounts and can make driving conditions very hazardous.

Other hazards include hail, decreased visibility, sudden gusty winds, standing water and of course lightning.

Hazardous weather conditions carry certain risks.

Generally, driving during a thunderstorm is not a good idea.

Thunderstorms can be particularly hazardous for cyclists, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles.

These storms can make driving more hazardous with possible flooded or muddy roads, or streets blocked by debris.

The Met Office advises drivers to remain in their vehicles if thunder or lightning hits.

You are safe in a car because if lightning were to strike it would travel around the surface of the vehicle and travel into the ground.

If you are moving, you should keep your speed as low as it is safe to drive.

Lowering your speed will also help when you travel when you are buffeted around by the wind.

Heavy rain also restricts your visibility so you should be sure to use your windshield wipers and headlights to improve visibility.

You should be sure to give cars extra space when the roads are wet and make sure to keep to suggested stopping distances which increase when it rains.

Met Office weather forecast: Atlantic chill to batter UK [FORECAST]
Met Office warnings ISSUED: New alerts issued for 2 inches of rain [EXPLAINER]
Met Office weather warning: Severe thunderstorms to hit England [MAPS]

What happens if a car is struck by lightning?

If your car is struck by lightning, you should remain in the vehicle until the lightning strike is over.

Cars bodies are made of metal and will have conducted the electrical charge from the lightning into the ground.

There is no difference to your safety about whether the engine is running or not.

At one time the voltage of the lightning is so high that it may have damaged the outside of the car including scorching paint and fusing side mirrors.

In newer vehicles, the computer chips in the engine control systems may be destroyed.

If you are struck by lightning during the storm, you should pull over to the side of the road and sit with your hands in your lap being careful not to touch the door or window handles, radio dials, gearshift or the steering wheel.

All things that contain metal and are connected to the outside of the car.

The Met Office has said this week conditions will turn wet and windy for many.

On Wednesday, there will be cloud and outbreaks of rain across western parts moving eastwards, some of which will be heavy in places.

Southern and eastern areas staying dry until evening with some sunshine, though cloud increasing. The weather is due to be windy in the north and west with coastal gales.

There will be outbreaks of rain, heavy at first in the northwest, moving southeastwards on Wednesday night.

Clearer skies will follow across Scotland and Northern Ireland with a few blustery showers.

On Thursday, the rain and drizzle will clear in all areas but the far southeast of England by evening.

Conditions will turn brighter extending to most parts with sunny spells and a few showers and it will feel windy in the north throughout the day.

From Friday to Sunday, weather conditions will see a lot of sunshine and blustery showers in the north on Friday, while the south will e cloudier featuring some rain.

There will be a mixture of rain and showers with dry spells through the weekend, with lighter winds.

Weather conditions will feel rather cool during the weekend.

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