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Traffic Talk: Driving into path of tornado is never a good idea

Don Gammill: Experts will tell you that if you are in the path of a tornado and there is a building nearby, get out of the car and seek shelter there. Also, you never know which direction a tornado might turn. Your vehicle could end up in a direct path.
BY DON GAMMILL Published: April 22, 2013
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When the radio personality broke into the music with an emergency announcement of a tornado between Hennessey and Stillwater, we paid attention. He was talking about where we were at the moment.

My son, who was about 9 at the time, asked: “What does a tornado look like, Dad?” I turned my head to respond to him and there, a few miles away and heading right for us, was his answer. “Like that,” I said, pointing at the twister.

Even at the distance we were from the tornado, we could feel its approach. Our small car was bouncing around so much it was difficult to steer. We traveled on and the tornado crossed I-35 behind us, making it to Stillwater, where it caused significant damage.

So, in both instances, we did the right thing, huh? Not entirely.

The experts will tell you that if you are in the path of a tornado and there is a building nearby, get out of the car and seek shelter there. Also, you never know which direction a tornado might turn. Your vehicle could end up in a direct path.

If there isn't a building available, look for a ditch or low-lying area and lie as flat as possible, AAA Oklahoma advises. You should not take cover under an overpass. Wind strength and flying debris are extremely dangerous.

Another reason it's best not to drive during severe storms: Water on the road. A small puddle actually could be deep enough to flood out your vehicle. Water flowing over a road could sweep your vehicle away. And water can cost you traction, causing your vehicle to hydroplane.

Those are the best choices. But if you have no choice but to keep traveling, at least try to go at a right angle to the storm.

By the way ...

Check out the resources in knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-Oklahoma for more information on surviving storms. It just might save your life.

Enjoy your week and drive safely.