Trucking Lightning Strikes

There’s less than a one in a million chance that you will be struck by lightning. Even the paranoid don’t give it much thought. However, lightning kills between 6 to 12 people every year in Canada, which is more than hail, wind, rain and tornadoes combined. Lightning is responsible for another 60 to 70 serious injuries.

April to October are considered prime lightning storm months in Canada.

Long haul truck drivers also travel to tornado rich areas in the USA (Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas etc). The storms surrounding a tornado feature a lot of lightning. Not only tornado’s, these areas are prone to some pretty severe electrical storms.

Lightning Safety Tips

Your truck is a fairly safe place to be in a lightning storm. If lightning hits your truck, the electrical current travels around the outside of the metal tractor, creating a ‘Faraday Cage’ protecting you inside the vehicle – if your rig is enclosed and made of metal. Enclosed includes windows rolled up. Drivers of any vehicle made of fibreglass would most likely be electrocuted since the ‘Faraday’ effect is compromised by poor conduction.

Electrical current, from a lightning strike, can come through metal objects which are connected directly to the outside of the vehicle such as door handles, radios, cell phone chargers, GPS units, pedals, gear shifts, the steering column, and the steering wheel. It’s important not to touch any metal object which connects to the outside during close-in lightning events. The National Lightning Safety Institute suggest “pulling off to the side of the road in a safe manner, turning on the emergency blinkers, turning off the engine, putting one’s hands in one’s lap, and waiting out the storm.”

If lightning strikes your vehicle, the electrical current will pass through your vehicle and enter into the ground. At that point, it’s technically safe to exit your truck and check for damage. Lightning damage to a vehicle can include tire blow outs, pitting, arching, fire, and burning. A lightning strike can also cause a myriad of electrical issues.


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