Driving During a Tornado in Louisiana? Here’s What You Need to Know

by | May 17, 2024 | Auto


While Louisiana may not experience as many tornadoes as some other states, these powerful storms still pose a risk to residents and visitors alike. For drivers, encountering one of these powerful storms while on the road can be challenging and potentially dangerous.

Many drivers may be uncertain about the best course of action when faced with a tornado while driving. Should you try to drive away from the tornado, take shelter under an overpass, or leave your vehicle and find shelter elsewhere?

In this blog post, we’ll provide guidance on what to do if you find yourself driving during a tornado in Louisiana.

Spotting the Signs of a Tornado While Driving

When you’re behind the wheel during a severe storm, it’s important to know how to recognize the signs of an approaching tornado. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Darkening sky and heavy rain. A tornado often develops during a thunderstorm, so be on high alert if the sky suddenly turns an ominous shade of green, gray, or black and the rain intensifies.
  2. Hail or debris falling from the sky. Large hail or debris raining down is a major red flag. Tornadoes can lift heavy objects like trees, cars, and even houses, sending them hurling through the air.
  3. Loud, roaring noise. If you hear a continuous rumble that sounds like a freight train or jet engine, a tornado may be approaching
  4. Visible funnel cloud. The most obvious sign of a tornado is a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud extending from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. If you spot one, take immediate action to find safe shelter.

Caught Behind the Wheel During a Tornado? Here’s What to Do

If you find yourself on the road when a tornado strikes, every second counts. Here’s what you need to do to stay safe:

  1. Seek sturdy shelter. If you can safely make it to a strong building nearby, do so immediately. Look for structures with a solid foundation and avoid places with wide-span roofs like auditoriums, cafeterias, supermarkets, and shopping malls, as they are more susceptible to collapse.
  2. Pull over and park. If you are unable to reach a building, or if strong winds and flying debris make driving too dangerous, carefully pull over and park your vehicle. Choose a spot that is as far away from trees, power lines, and other potential hazards as possible.
  3. Keep your seatbelt on and engine running. Once parked, keep your seatbelt fastened and your engine running. This allows you to maintain some level of protection while also being ready to quickly move if necessary.
  4. Get below window level. Crouch down as low as possible while still remaining buckled in. The goal is to get your head below the window level to protect yourself from shattering glass and flying debris.
  5. Cover your head. Use your hands, a blanket, or any other available materials to shield your head from potential impacts.

Driver Safety Tips Following a Tornado

Check for Injuries

After driving through a tornado, your first priority is making sure you and your passengers are okay. Take a moment to check yourself and your passengers for injuries, even minor injuries might not be immediately noticeable. If anyone’s hurt, call 911 and follow their instructions.

Look for Damage to Your Ride

Once everyone’s safe, inspect your car for any damage caused by the tornado. Look for things like cracked or broken windows, dents or dings in the body, flat or blown-out tires, and signs of fluid leaks underneath. If your car isn’t safe to drive, stay put and wait for help.

Steer Clear of Danger on the Road

Driving during a tornado can be scary enough, but the aftermath can be just as risky. Keep an eye out for:

  • Downed power lines (never drive over them!)
  • Tree branches and other debris in the road
  • Washed-out roads or bridges
  • Flooding or standing water

Read Also: Driving in Heavy Rain: Do’s and Don’ts

Remember, your safety and the safety of your passengers should always come first – cars can be replaced, but lives cannot. Share this information with your loved ones to help keep them safe during tornado season in Louisiana.

When it’s time to get back on the road, having a reliable car insurance agency like TSL Insurance Group on your side can make all the difference.

With over 50 years of experience helping Louisianans, TSL Insurance Group is here to help you protect your vehicle with confidence.

Call one of our convenient office locations in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Franklin, Lutcher, or Abbeville to learn more about our comprehensive car insurance policies designed with Louisiana drivers in mind.

Our team of knowledgeable Risk Advisors is ready to provide personalized service and support to ensure you have the coverage you need, no matter where the road takes you. Schedule a free consultation today to get a free quote!