Driving in a tornado: Toyota of Orlando’s top safety tips

June 8th, 2022 by

Did you know that there was actually a tornado in downtown Orlando two years ago? Granted, it was only an EF1, but it still did a fair amount of damage as it uprooted trees, ripped roofs off houses, and flung debris into homes and cars. While we don’t see a ton of tornados here in Central Florida – especially when compared to the Midwest – we certainly have the propensity for them with the intense summer thunderstorms and seasonal hurricanes we get here on a normal basis. So what should you do if you’re out on the road and experience driving in a tornado? Toyota of Orlando is here with tips.

Driving in a tornado

Six tips for driving in a tornado

#1: Be aware. If there’s bad weather in your area, pay attention to the alerts that are sent to your smartphone and on the radio. Tornado warnings can give you a heads up that it’s in your best interest to get off the road and find a safe place to shelter until the bad weather passes. You should also watch the sky around you – carefully – for signs that a tornado is imminent, including:

  • The sky turning a dark green color
  • An uneasy, still quietness in the middle of a storm, especially if you were just driving in heavy rain or hail
  • A loud roaring noise that sounds like a train or a vacuum cleaner
  • Debris falling around you or a cloud of debris at ground-level
  • A rotating funnel extending out of a cloud

#2: Try to get off the road as quickly as possible. Pull into a parking lot and head for shelter as quickly as you can and stay there until the weather passes. Your best and safest bet is to avoid driving in a tornado altogether.

#3: If you can’t get off the road, don’t try to park under bridges or in tunnels for shelter. It may seem safer at a glance but bridges and tunnels actually create wind tunnels, enhancing the already incredibly strong winds even more and putting you in more danger than you would be out in the open. When driving in a tornado, you should never seek shelter in these places.

#4: If you see a low-lying area, head for it. If there’s any ground around your vehicle that’s lower than the level of the road, like a ditch or a ravine, you should exit your car and make a run for it. Lie down in the dip and cover your head with your hands. And try to avoid areas with trees as they’ll become instant debris.

#5: Know when to shelter in your car. If there’s nowhere to find shelter outside of your car, you should stay in it. Put your car in park (again, away from trees), put your seatbelt on, and put your head down. Try to get lower than the windows and if you have a blanket or jacket, use it to cover your head. Be sure to additionally protect your head with your hands and arms.

#6: Don’t try to outrun it. When driving in a tornado, never try to outrun it. Tornados are extremely unpredictable and fast; they can change course in an instant, disappear and reappear, and more. Your best bet is to either try to find shelter or to pull over and prepare yourself.

Get driving safety tips from Toyota of Orlando

Want more tips on driving in a tornado or just bad weather safety tips in general for when you’re behind the wheel? Toyota of Orlando is here for you. Follow us on social media for tips. You can also call us at (407) 298-4500 or stop by and see us at 3575 Vineland Road.