Is it safe to drive a car during a thunderstorm?

Rain, lightning and thunder: Driving in a thunderstorm can be dangerous if the rain not only obscures the view but also causes aquaplaning. How you can reduce the likelihood of an accident risk!

It can quickly happen that the weather changes from bright warm sun to gray cloudy wet. Traveling by car in thunderstorms and heavy rain can be dangerous if the rain not only obscures the view but also causes aquaplaning. There is an increased risk of accidents if you continue as usual.

When it Rains

Heavy rain affects the driver’s vision despite the windshield wipers. Therefore both hands on the steering wheel and the speed should be reduced. Passers-by suddenly appearing, might want to flee into the dry area quickly. As a driver, you have to brake (in good time) because the braking distance is longer on wet roads.

A large distance should also be kept from other vehicles in order to reduce the risk of accidents caused by aquaplaning.

Aquaplaning – what is it?

In heavy rain, a water cushion forms under the tires. This makes it difficult for the tire to maintain contact with the asphalt and thus to steer the car without any problems. Here, not only should the speed be reduced and the distance to other vehicles kept, but also “rainproof” tires should be procured.

Rain resistance is reflected in their profile in tires. In so-called “rain tires” with asymmetrical tread geometry, which generate high flow velocities through as many or as wide left grooves as possible, the water should be drained off with little resistance in order to simplify steering.

However, if there is a possibility to stay in the parked car until the thunderstorm is over, this should be the safest option.

Faraday’s cage – what is it?

“It’s safest in a car when there’s a thunderstorm,” it says. But why is it like that?

The outside of the car is made of metal. If lightning strikes the car, the metal will conduct the electrons in the lightning. However, you are only struck by lightning if you touch the car from outside during the lightning strike, not if you are sitting in the car. This is due to the property of the electrons, which always seek the greatest distance from one another. This is called a Faraday cage, in which you are safe from the lightning during the thunderstorm.


Driving in a thunderstorm should be safe if you take care to reduce speed, keep a good distance from vehicles and turn more slowly when cornering. A thunderstorm with heavy rain can cause aquaplaning and make it difficult for you to control your car. Therefore, all precautions are meaningless if you do not have the right tires for a thunderstorm.

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