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Driving Hazards and Safety

The routine act of simply driving a vehicle is probably the most dangerous activity storm spotters engage in. When you take the normal everyday risks associated with driving, and add to that the additional risks storm spotters face, such as driving in bad weather, being distracted by the storm, using the radio or cell phone, etc, it becomes apparent that mobile spotters need to take extra care to be safe.

Here are some suggestions to help you stay safe when spotting from your vehicle:

  • Make sure your vehicle is mechanically ready.
  • Always be sure you have enough gas.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Drive only as fast as the law, and weather and road conditions allow.
  • The driver should focus on the road, not the storm. When possible, spot in teams of at least two people.
  • Avoid unpaved roads. Being stuck in the mud as a storm approaches is a very uncomfortable position to be in.
  • Do not drive into blowing dust, heavy rain, hail or fog that obscures your view.
  • If you must pull over, be sure you are well off the roadway to avoid being hit from behind.
  • Highway overpasses should not be used as weather shelter areas. Watch for stopped vehicles near overpasses.
  • Consider keeping the engine running when stopped to view a storm.
  • Be alert for increased traffic and pedestrians (storm chasers, media, etc) around severe storms.
  • After the storm, be on the lookout for debris, downed trees and power lines. Assume every power line is live and stay far away from it.

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