Tornado safety and cars

Dear Tom,
We are always told to get out of a car and lay down in a ditch when a tornado approaches. Wouldn’t it be better to remain in the car where the body of the car offers protection from flying debris?
Donna Mathers, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Dear Donna,
The primary cause of death and injury in tornadoes is flying debris. For maximum tornado protection, the safest place to be is indoors. When you are outside, and this includes being in an automobile, none of the options available to you offers satisfactory protection.
Automobiles provide practically no protection from flying debris and, in addition, tend to be tossed about even by weak tornadoes. In recent years, half the occupants of automobiles caught in tornadoes have been killed. The best advice is to abandon your car and lie flat in a ditch or other relatively low spot

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