Expand Images

What Happens If Lightning Strikes Your Car?

As long as you get out of the car after the lightning strike is over, nothing should happen. The car’s body is made of metal, and it will have conducted the electrical charge from the lightning into the ground. 

It makes no difference to your safety whether the engine is running or not. But the voltage of the lightning is so high that it may have damaged the outside of the car — scorching paint and fusing side mirrors. 

In newer vehicles, the computer chips in the engine control systems may be destroyed. If you’re caught driving in a thunderstorm, you should pull over to the side of the road and sit with your hands in your lap, not touching door or window handles, radio dials, the gearshift or the steering wheel — all things that contain metal and are connected to the outside of the car. That way you’re sure not to get shocked if the car does take a hit.