Staying safe while driving typically involves obeying signage and traffic lights, staying within the speed limit, and avoiding distractions such as texting. However, the hazards of the road are not always limited to moving vehicles. And according to experts, there is one particular place where parking your car can be “spectacularly dangerous.” Read on to learn which mistake can be fatal while driving.
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Whether you’re well on your way on a long car ride or just rushing to the store to pick up the most important things, even the most experienced drivers fear getting caught on the road in bad weather. In fact, driving can be one of the very worst places to be when bad conditions strike. According to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), of the 5.8 million car accidents recorded between 2007 and 2016, about 1.2 million — or 21 percent — were related to extreme weather.
The agency also reports that these accidents resulted in more than 418,000 injuries and on average 5,376 deaths per year, accounting for 16 percent of all car-related deaths during that period. In comparison, extreme weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, lighting and extreme heat cause an average of 379 deaths annually of people who did not drive during the same time period, according to The Weather Channel.
Suddenly being caught in severe weather on the road can be a terrifying experience, especially if your vision is impaired or road conditions become difficult to navigate. But even in the worst situations, experts still warn that stop a vehicle being in one specific place on the road is not nearly as safe as it seems.
“Driving is always the biggest danger when it comes to storms, and unfortunately one of the big problems I’ve encountered time and again is people hiding their cars under bridges,” Mark Robinson, a storm chaser and meteorologist with The Weather Network in Canada said in an interview with the station. “It’s hard for me to emphasize how spectacularly dangerous it is for other drivers when someone does that.”
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To some, staying under a concrete overpass seems like the only way to protect yourself from damaging hail or other intense weather that hits out of nowhere. But even setting aside the possibility of potential collisions, the decision could put others at risk: Any stationary vehicles blocking the road could also leave other motorists stranded with no cover, while also preventing them from reaching safety ahead, the Weather reports. channel.
And while the sturdy concrete structures may seem like a safe haven from high winds during a tornado, parking under an overpass can be one of the worst places to find yourself when driving past. This is because the wind is beneath the structures often stronger than in the open airputting you in even more danger.
“Seeking shelter under a highway overpass is to become a stationary target for flying debris, with a significant risk of being blown out and carried by the tornado winds,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a presentation at the Weather Association’s 1999 National Annual Meeting, according to the Weather Channel. “Safety in such a location is just an illusion.”
Bad weather will always be a part of life, but experts say there’s still plenty you can do to minimize your risk on the road. Before getting into the car, check your local conditions and forecast for any passing storms, and consider postponing your trip if there’s activity in your area, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service (NWS).
If you find yourself being caught off guard while driving and it becomes too dangerous to keep moving, Robinson recommends pulling as far to the side of the road as possible before stopping to make sure you get out of traffic. not blocked in any way. If you are on a stretch of road with no boundary or safe place to stop, slow down and continue driving until you can exit the highway or find a place to safely stop your car.
“Otherwise, proceed slowly until the weather is clear enough to continue,” he recommends.
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