It isn’t something that occurs often, but when lightning strikes a vehicle on the highway it can be rather frightening.
That was the case for people in at least two vehicles travelling on Hwy. 2 during the morning of July 18, according to Alberta Motor Association spokesperson Misty Harris.
Harris, in a phone interview, stated AMA tow truck contractor Ponoka First Call Towing answered two calls from AMA clients that involved their vehicles being struck by lightning.
“Our towing contractor said he usually responds to about three incidents like this per summer, so it isn’t as unusual as one would think, but AMA doesn’t keep statistics specific to lightning strikes on vehicles,” she said.
Harris did note that in both cases, no one in the vehicles were hurt. Although, she did note that the tow truck contractor did acknowledge the vehicles exhibited signs of being hit by lightning including a blown tire and burned out electronics.
The most important thing that the AMA wants motorists to remember during a severe weather event is to put their safety first.
“That is always our first concern. We recommend that when driving and a storm hits, find a safe place to pull over as soon as you can and don’t attempt to drive through it,” Harris said.
“Put on you hazard lights, turn off the engine and place your hands in your lap, so in the event of lightning hitting the vehicle you can stay protected.”
In addition, people should wait for the storm to pass before exiting the vehicle to inspect for any damage.
“Don’t attempt to drive before seeing if the tires or anything else is damaged, and especially don’t drive if there is any electrical damage,” she stated.
“Call for assistance and bring your vehicle in to be checked out. Don’t take any chances with it.”
For more information on what to do in a storm, go to www.ama.ab.ca and search for thunderstorms.