The tornadoes that have devastated parts of the Midwest and South in the past week, particularly Joplin, Mo., have provided a tragic reminder of how little warning you can have when such a natural disaster strikes. This week's tip, culled from AAA and State Farm, offers advice on what safety measures you should take if you're in a vehicle during a tornado. You may want to pass this advice along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
- A "tornado warning" means a twister is developing or is actually on the ground. It is more severe than a "tornado watch," which means conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, which may or may not spawn tornadoes.
- Tornadoes can toss cars and large trucks around like toys. Never try to outrun a tornado.
- If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning issued on the radio or by siren, get out of your vehicle and seek a safe structure.
- Seeking shelter indoors is best, if possible. A basement is safest. Closets or small interior rooms are preferable. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture or mattress and stay away from south and west walls and all windows.
- Do not seek shelter in a mobile home. These structures, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
- If you are caught in the open, with no indoor buildings available to you, find a ditch, ravine or low-lying area and lie flat. Stay away from roadway overpasses. Cover the back of your head and neck with your hands; keep alert for flash floods.
In general, whenever you're driving during a storm, remember that wet roads mean poor traction. Conditions are most dangerous during the first 10 minutes of a heavy downpour as oil and debris wash away. Driving on wet roads in the rain is just like driving on ice. Take it easy and allow extra time.