Tornados On The Road

Topic 4537 | Page 1

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Joanna 's Comment
member avatar

So the in the past week I have had a couple random dreams about tornados and it got me to thinking, what do truckers do if they run across a tornado? I grew up military brat and lived in some states that had tornados pretty frequently. I remember taking shelter in the bathroom or basement a few times. Pretty scary! But what would a trucker do? Anyone have any tornado stories?

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Run under a over pass! Lol that's all you can do.

OVERPASSES AND TORNADO SAFETY

Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado. In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado.  Seeking shelter under an overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously  injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds.

The idea that overpasses offer safety probably began in 1991, when a television news crew and some citizens rode out a very weak tornado under an overpass along the Kansas Turnpike.  The  resulting video continues to be seen by millions, and appears to have fostered  the idea that overpasses are preferred sources of shelter, and should be sought out by those in the path of a  tornado. In addition, news magazine photographs of people huddled under an overpass with an approaching tornado imply that this is the correct safety procedure.  Nothing can be further from the truth!

In the Oklahoma City area in May, 1999, three people were killed and many had serious injuries by a violent tornado while seeking shelter under an overpass.  Eyewitness accounts from others in the area indicated that roads were blocked at times as people stopped cars to run up into small crevices under an overpass.  Not only is the overpass unsafe as a shelter, blocking roads denies others the chance to get out of the storm's path, and impedes emergency  vehicles from their critical duties!

Wind speeds in tornados can be over 200 mph. These destructive winds produce airborne debris that are blown into and channeled under the overpass where people might try to seek shelter.  Debris of varying size and types, including dirt, sand and rocks, moving at incredible speeds can easily penetrate clothing and skin causing serious injuries and possibly death. Very fine debris can also be forced into eyes causing injury or loss of sight. A person could  even be blown out or carried away from the overpass by the fierce tornado winds.  People positioned at the top of the overpass encounter even high wind speeds and more missile-like debris. Wind direction will also shift abruptly as the tornado passes tossing debris from all sides.

In the 1991 Kansas Turnpike video, the tornado was relatively weak when it passed near the overpass.  A stronger tornado striking the overpass directly would likely have caused serious injury to those attempting to find shelter there.

The safest course of action when a tornado approaches is to get out of the tornado’s path, or to seek shelter in a sturdy, well-constructed building. Lying flat in a ditch, ravine, or below grade culvert also offers protection from flying tornadic debris. Do ot try to outrun a tornado in a car. Be aware of your surroundings, check  weather forecasts often in changing conditions and take personal responsibility for your own safety. 

Remember:   Overpasses offer no protection from a direct hit from a tornado, and should not be used as shelter.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I am sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with that article.

1. Who wrote it and where did they get their information? Experiments? 2. You have steel reinforced concrete above and below you, plus, you have the embankment for support as well. They make a good projectile barrier. Looking at it In a north, south, east, west, up and down threat area, an overpass takes at least 50% of that threat area away. A ditch gives you down and maybe two sides. So, if you are taking a "direct hit", where would you want to be? If you are in a 200 plus mph wind, I just do not see where a tunnel effect will make a difference in either scenario. Just my logic. 3. The article says "roads were blocked at times". Well, you wouldn`t be trying to out run the tornado would you? Do emergency vehicles show up in seconds because that is how long the tornado will last.

With all that said, if there is quick access to a strong structure, that is where I would be heading. Otherwise, overpass (or underpass).

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I grew up in tornado country and have actually seen a few, and seen the damage they do a bunch more times. My mom was terrified of tornados, and so of course was I when I was little. I haven't been afraid of tornados since the time I saw one forming overhead and it touched down about a mile away. (Long story - yes, the siren went off and we should have been in the storm cellar, but our neighbor was drunk and looking up at the sky.) It tore up a corn field. That day I decided if Bill wasn't afraid of them, I didn't need to be either, and I haven't been since. (Mom still overreacts to tornado warnings.)

Overpasses are mainly good for getting out of rain or a hailstorm when you're riding a motorcycle. Problem is that sometimes that hailstorm has a tornado coming behind it.

Trucks are surely more vulnerable to tornados than cars, with all that wind-catching square footage. If you don't see it far enough away to be able to maneuver out of the way before it gets really close (say, a mile or two), then I would suggest that you park it, get the heck out, and get as far away from it as you can before you go to the basement of a nearby building or dive into a ditch. If the truck gets hit, it might just fly, and then it's going to break up, and all that stuff is going to rain back down onto the ground. You don't want to be wherever it lands. I have seen trucks that were destroyed by tornados, along with cars, houses, barns, businesses, cattle, and horses. I have seen entire little towns wiped out. Usually there are very few human casualties, though. When you live in that area, you learn what to do at a very young age, and most people have good enough sense to do that. Sometimes that isn't enough, though, so it's not entirely irrational to be afraid of them.

I am much more afraid of earthquakes and hurricanes. Even scarier to me are spiders that creep up on you at night when you're sleeping. They are so light you can't even feel them. Spiders want to kill you - don't let anyone fool you into believing otherwise. You can usually get out of the way of a tornado, or into a basement or a ditch. There are spiders everywhere (at least in the Carolinas) and you almost never see them coming.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I am sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with that article.

1. Who wrote it and where did they get their information? Experiments? 2. You have steel reinforced concrete above and below you, plus, you have the embankment for support as well. They make a good projectile barrier. Looking at it In a north, south, east, west, up and down threat area, an overpass takes at least 50% of that threat area away. A ditch gives you down and maybe two sides. So, if you are taking a "direct hit", where would you want to be? If you are in a 200 plus mph wind, I just do not see where a tunnel effect will make a difference in either scenario. Just my logic. 3. The article says "roads were blocked at times". Well, you wouldn`t be trying to out run the tornado would you? Do emergency vehicles show up in seconds because that is how long the tornado will last.

With all that said, if there is quick access to a strong structure, that is where I would be heading. Otherwise, overpass (or underpass).

While I will agree with the logic of the points you made in your post if it's a highway over pass that's the absolutely worse place to be. Why? Limited space. If you and 50 of your closest friend (other Highway drivers) all stop under the over pass where are they going to park? They will Park in the middle of the road and on the shoulders blocking the interstate and what will happen when some one comes through there at Highway speed? One of the biggest wrecks, possible explosions, seen around there in while.

OK that was an extreme example but let me give you a real world example. This past May. May 5th to be exact I was driving West on I-10 in Louisiana and one heck of a hail storm started. The cars hit the shoulder AND yes stopped in the middle of the interstate also. I had to stop in the middle of the road, on the interstate, and blow my horn for a minute before people even thought about moving. Only reason they moved was a state police showed up and made them move out of the road and onto the shoulder of the road clearing the interstate. As they pulled over he was taking licenses from the police. I assume to give them tickets once things were clear.

See this is one of the cases where it's safer to keep moving than it is to stop. I was barely able to stop in time from hitting 2 cars that were partially blocking the right lane. Another truck was not so lucky and clipped a car as he went past it. The car spun around and narrowly missed 2 people.

Sure it's good to be in a safe place but not when it endangers other people's lives.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I'm fascinated with tornadoes and sharks, and scared to death of them.

Joanna 's Comment
member avatar

You couldn't pay me to go scuba diving. At least we can choose whether or not to be around sharks. Tornadoes though, that's a different story!

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Kody S.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with Joannna

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

You couldn't pay me to go scuba diving. At least we can choose whether or not to be around sharks. Tornadoes though, that's a different story!

yeah! I can choose to go in the water or up in the air, but I choose to keep my feet on solid ground! I go ankle-deep in the ocean... that's it.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Mad Hatter's Comment
member avatar

Run under a over pass! Lol that's all you can do.

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Run under a over pass! Lol that's all you can do.

OVERPASSES AND TORNADO SAFETY

Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado. In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado.  Seeking shelter under an overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously  injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds.

The idea that overpasses offer safety probably began in 1991, when a television news crew and some citizens rode out a very weak tornado under an overpass along the Kansas Turnpike.  The  resulting video continues to be seen by millions, and appears to have fostered  the idea that overpasses are preferred sources of shelter, and should be sought out by those in the path of a  tornado. In addition, news magazine photographs of people huddled under an overpass with an approaching tornado imply that this is the correct safety procedure.  Nothing can be further from the truth!

In the Oklahoma City area in May, 1999, three people were killed and many had serious injuries by a violent tornado while seeking shelter under an overpass.  Eyewitness accounts from others in the area indicated that roads were blocked at times as people stopped cars to run up into small crevices under an overpass.  Not only is the overpass unsafe as a shelter, blocking roads denies others the chance to get out of the storm's path, and impedes emergency  vehicles from their critical duties!

Wind speeds in tornados can be over 200 mph. These destructive winds produce airborne debris that are blown into and channeled under the overpass where people might try to seek shelter.  Debris of varying size and types, including dirt, sand and rocks, moving at incredible speeds can easily penetrate clothing and skin causing serious injuries and possibly death. Very fine debris can also be forced into eyes causing injury or loss of sight. A person could  even be blown out or carried away from the overpass by the fierce tornado winds.  People positioned at the top of the overpass encounter even high wind speeds and more missile-like debris. Wind direction will also shift abruptly as the tornado passes tossing debris from all sides.

In the 1991 Kansas Turnpike video, the tornado was relatively weak when it passed near the overpass.  A stronger tornado striking the overpass directly would likely have caused serious injury to those attempting to find shelter there.

The safest course of action when a tornado approaches is to get out of the tornado’s path, or to seek shelter in a sturdy, well-constructed building. Lying flat in a ditch, ravine, or below grade culvert also offers protection from flying tornadic debris. Do ot try to outrun a tornado in a car. Be aware of your surroundings, check  weather forecasts often in changing conditions and take personal responsibility for your own safety. 

Remember:   Overpasses offer no protection from a direct hit from a tornado, and should not be used as shelter.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jay B.'s Comment
member avatar

But I saw it in "Twister"!

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I am sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with that article.

1. Who wrote it and where did they get their information? Experiments? 2. You have steel reinforced concrete above and below you, plus, you have the embankment for support as well. They make a good projectile barrier. Looking at it In a north, south, east, west, up and down threat area, an overpass takes at least 50% of that threat area away. A ditch gives you down and maybe two sides. So, if you are taking a "direct hit", where would you want to be? If you are in a 200 plus mph wind, I just do not see where a tunnel effect will make a difference in either scenario. Just my logic. 3. The article says "roads were blocked at times". Well, you wouldn`t be trying to out run the tornado would you? Do emergency vehicles show up in seconds because that is how long the tornado will last.

With all that said, if there is quick access to a strong structure, that is where I would be heading. Otherwise, overpass (or underpass).

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I grew up in tornado country and have actually seen a few, and seen the damage they do a bunch more times. My mom was terrified of tornados, and so of course was I when I was little. I haven't been afraid of tornados since the time I saw one forming overhead and it touched down about a mile away. (Long story - yes, the siren went off and we should have been in the storm cellar, but our neighbor was drunk and looking up at the sky.) It tore up a corn field. That day I decided if Bill wasn't afraid of them, I didn't need to be either, and I haven't been since. (Mom still overreacts to tornado warnings.)

Overpasses are mainly good for getting out of rain or a hailstorm when you're riding a motorcycle. Problem is that sometimes that hailstorm has a tornado coming behind it.

Trucks are surely more vulnerable to tornados than cars, with all that wind-catching square footage. If you don't see it far enough away to be able to maneuver out of the way before it gets really close (say, a mile or two), then I would suggest that you park it, get the heck out, and get as far away from it as you can before you go to the basement of a nearby building or dive into a ditch. If the truck gets hit, it might just fly, and then it's going to break up, and all that stuff is going to rain back down onto the ground. You don't want to be wherever it lands. I have seen trucks that were destroyed by tornados, along with cars, houses, barns, businesses, cattle, and horses. I have seen entire little towns wiped out. Usually there are very few human casualties, though. When you live in that area, you learn what to do at a very young age, and most people have good enough sense to do that. Sometimes that isn't enough, though, so it's not entirely irrational to be afraid of them.

I am much more afraid of earthquakes and hurricanes. Even scarier to me are spiders that creep up on you at night when you're sleeping. They are so light you can't even feel them. Spiders want to kill you - don't let anyone fool you into believing otherwise. You can usually get out of the way of a tornado, or into a basement or a ditch. There are spiders everywhere (at least in the Carolinas) and you almost never see them coming.

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