Site Navigation

Your Account

Choose Language

What to do when faced with a tornado

Hey everyone!! I was raised in the Pacific NW and spent a lot of my driving career in the mountain states and have never seen much less learned what to do when faced by a tornado situation while trucking down the open road. As an Owner - Operator with a couple drivers now, I need to be responsible and provide them with some education on what to do when weather warnings/conditions may exist.

When I asked a Driver at a J who was talking about the recent events and how he just missed one by minutes. His answer: "Hit your brakes, bend over and kiss you a** good-bye!" Not exactly the kind of advice I was hoping to get from a fellow Diver.

I know a lot of safety in any arena is mostly common sense but, any other advice that I can use to help educate my employees and other would be GREATLY appreciated!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 4
Add a comment

5 Answers

Chosen Solution

i was raised in western kansas and was close friend's with a few chaser's. the 1 thing they allllll believed in was 1 simple rule if u are ahead of it u keep making right turns whenever possible. every right turn take's u further and further and further out of the typical path that on the ground twister's will hold onto. all that said, there are also what we call back lash twister's that will suddenly seem to be fading and suddenly catch the back side of the draft's and move in the opposite direction of the main storm. if u HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE THE SAFEST PLACE IS IN THE DITCH, AWAY FROM ANY POSSIBLE DEBRIS , USE A PILLOW OR BLANKET TO COVER YOUR HEAD AND STAY FLAT UNTIL THE WIND'S HAVE PASSED. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Was this answer helpful?

Score 5

Comments:

THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR INFORMATION!!!!

This is truly great information that I can use and pass along! I always heard that an overpass was a good place to seek shelter and I'm very glad you guys have told me otherwise! Pillows, blankets and bike helmets are thing I ever have heard of to use in these situations. Again, my gratitude for your great answers...

Ian

by

Add a comment
Most Helpful Answer

Tornadoes take a lot of research to actually predict and avoid a damage path. They have been a passion of mine since I was a child. I've been studying meteorology for years and the best advice to truckers I have when driving is to find shelter.

Tornadoes are actually very rare to be seen, and very hard to track with an experienced storm chaser group. Most truckers who say they saw one are usually misunderstood, or they are confusing them with smaller "Dust-Nadoes", wall clouds, and straight-line winds from a squall line. Tornadoes have to make contact with the ground to be considered an actual "tornado". If not, funnel clouds often form from a wall cloud or Mesocyclone (all parts of a supercell thunderstorm) are much more common.

If you ever see a tornado in front or behind you, I would look for the closest building available. If you are in farmland, a low laying ditch will keep you safer than your truck. (May sound stupid, but I carry a bicycle helmet with me on the road to avoid getting hit by debris). I've been known to get pretty close to severe weather though. I've seen tornadoes pick up fully loaded semi's with no problem. DO NOT crawl under a highway overpass!

Don't ever stop your truck in the middle of the road. A lot of people do this and cause severe car accidents because most drivers are looking at the sky and not the road.

Depending on the atmosphere, tornadoes usually cause the greatest damage to the north and east of them. This is not always true, but if you are on the south end of a twister, it is usually moving away from you.

Anyway, to answer your question, find any shelter or low laying ditch and don't block the street . They will almost always be safer than your truck. Please let me know if I can be of more help.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 9

Comments:

In addition to what Jeff said, make sure you know the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. A warning means a Tornado has been sighted nearby, while a Watch means that conditions are right for severe weather to form.

Never seek shelter under an overpass, as it acts like a wind tunnel, increasing wind speed and making debris fly faster than debris out in the open. Instead of using an overpass, get to a place of safety (rest area, truck stop, etc...).

If you are on a freeway, and the Tornado is approaching from behind you, accelerate quickly and get to the nearest exit with a place of safety. If you are not on a freeway, and you must outrun a Tornado, you must determine an escape route and use the escape route to get to safety.

Carry and use a pillow OR a properly fitting helmet just in case you need to use a ditch as a last resort. This will increase your chances of survival.

by

Add a comment

AS Jeff said most tornados move to the north east I think it's 85% or something close to that. So if you are south or west of the storm you are in the safer location.

As Jeff said do not get under an underpass because the pressure and wind will actually be higher there.

If you can get in a building, you want to get to the center of the building in a room with no windows. If posable in the basement.

The safest place on the open road is in a culvert under the road, or in a steep narrow ditch if the water is not to deep. Believe it or not just lying flat, face down on the ground you have less chance of being hit by flying objects, or being picked up from wind (hug the dirt as they say in the military).

Was this answer helpful?

Score 5

Comments:

Just thought I'd bump this for all our drivers out there running the Plains this Spring!

by

Add a comment

Another little tip when sleeping in those conditions... I sleep with some clothes on and keep wallet and phone where I can grab it fast in case the sirens start ...will save you valuable seconds...

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

If you see one pull over and try to evaluate what direction it is moving. If it is not coming at you, then stay put until it's safe to move on. If it appears to be coming at you then use the advice previously suggested. If you are unable to take shelter then you have no choice but to ride it out as I did in Joplin. I'm not sure I would have survived had I tried to find shelter since it was already on top of me before I knew what was happening. Had I left my truck and laid on the ground, I surely would have been swept up or pelted by debris moving at a high velocity. Also keep monitoring your weather radio.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Add your answer

Ian Fridell will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 0

Past 7 Days: 0

Past 30 Days: 2

All Time: 1,862