What Happens When Lightning Hits A Car - Car Super Care (2023)

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  • What Happens When Lightning Hits A Car?
      • Why Is This Important?
  • What To Do If Lightning Hits Your Car
      • Why Is This Important?
  • Are You Safe From Lightning In A Car?
      • Why Is This Important?
  • Where To Situate Your Car During A Lightning Storm
      • Why Is This Important?
  • Final Words

What Happens When Lightning Hits A Car - Car Super Care (1)

This may be very surprising, but your car can get struck by lightning. Contrary to popular belief, your car’s rubber tires won’t prevent your vehicle from being hit by lightning.

This prevalent myth has been debunked many times. Lightning has a higher chance of hitting a car than other objects.

Despite this, many still say that you should hide in a car if you can’t stay safe from lightning in a building.

This article will look at what will happen to your car if it gets hit with lightning. We are also going to discuss what you should do if your vehicle is struck by lightning. Additionally, we will look at if you are safe from lightning in a car.

What Happens When Lightning Hits A Car?

As we now know, your car can still be hit by lightning regardless of the rubber tires. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it will hit your car antenna or the outer metal shell in most cases. The lightning will then travel through the outer shell and pass through to the car’s rubber tires into the ground.


You need to note that every lightning strike is different, so the amount of damage that your vehicle will suffer varies.

Lightening is exceptionally volatile and is four times the heat of the sun. Certain types of damage are common with lightning strikes. A typical lightning strike can cause your car’s antenna to melt partially. This is due to the antenna usually being the focal point for the strike.

Lightning strikes can wreak havoc with your car’s electrical system and can often wholly fry the electrical components. Lightning strikes affect both the interior and exterior of your car, and both can suffer damages. Your car’s side mirrors could fuse to the car.

The paint on your car can become scorched, and your car’s windshield can be shattered. In worst-case scenarios, a car hit by lightning can be destroyed and result in life loss.

Why Is This Important?

It is essential to know how lighting can affect a car. If you know how lightning hits a vehicle, you know the damages. It is also crucial to understand how lightning travels through a car.

This is so you are mindful not to place your hands on any exposed metal of the vehicle. A lightning strike is likely to pass through the car’s outer shell.

What To Do If Lightning Hits Your Car

Should lightning hit your car, it’s important not to panic. During a lightning storm, your car’s roof allows electricity from the lightning strike to travel along the outside of your car’s shell. Theoretically, anything inside the vehicle should remain unharmed if the occupants don’t touch anything metal.

This means that you should not hold your cellphone, touching your door handles, steering wheel, and car radio. If lightning hits your car, stay inside the vehicle until the storm clears.


However, should you notice any sparks or see signs of a potential explosion, you will need to exit the car safely. Take note that you shouldn’t touch the vehicle’s exterior for some time following a lightning strike as the car could still conduct electricity.

What Happens When Lightning Hits A Car - Car Super Care (2)

Why Is This Important?

If you know what to do when your car is hit by lightning, it could be the difference between life and death. You will also be able to potentially prevent yourself from getting any injuries if you stay in a vehicle during any lightning storm and don’t touch anything metal.

Are You Safe From Lightning In A Car?

During a lightning storm, you can seek shelter in a hard-topped car. Don’t seek refuge in a car with a soft-top like a convertible as the lightning will pass through the vehicle and is likely to strike you. No open space outside is safe for you during a lightning storm.

You can use a car to stay safe during a storm. You might think it wouldn’t be safe to stay in during a storm, but it is.

A car is one of the absolute safest places you can be as the car’s shell acts as a faraday cage. Sitting in the car, keeping your hands in your lap, and waiting out a storm should enable you to escape the storm with no injuries.

Importantly don’t leave your windows down during a lightning storm as this will make your car an unsafe place to be. The lightning will enter the vehicle, and you could get seriously injured.

Why Is This Important?

Staying in a car during a storm is one of the safest places for you to seek shelter if you do not have a building nearby. A vehicle will prevent serious injuries should you not touch anything metal while you wait out the storm.

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Where To Situate Your Car During A Lightning Storm

Lightning storms are hazardous events. Luckily if you are in your car when one breaks out, this is one of the safest places that you could be. When driving in your vehicle and you start to hear thunder, lightning is sure to be close behind.

If you cannot make it home, then you need to seek shelter for at least thirty minutes until you hear the last sound of thunder.

Avoid parking in elevated areas such as hills and mountains, as lightning strikes there first. You will want to ease off the road and park somewhere in a low-lying area. However, do not park under any trees or near any water bodies such as ponds or lakes.

You must also stay away from any objects that can conduct electricity like telephone poles and wire fences.

Why Is This Important?

Parking in a low area is vital if you want to minimize your car’s risk of being hit by lightning.

Final Words

To conclude, your car can be struck by lightning. However, your vehicle is also one of the safest places that you can be during a lightning storm.

If you close your windows and keep your hands placed in your lap, you will likely get through a lightning storm unscathed.

What Happens When Lightning Hits A Car - Car Super Care (3)

James has been a car enthusiast since his childhood when he learned the differences between a ford and a chevy from his father. He loves to drive and restore old cars with a special drive for Italian marvels. Currently, he has a 1968 Alfa Romeo. He has studied aeronautics and civil aviation in his college and still gets smitten by Galant SS and Lancer GSR.

He is a New York-based product training director working with a giant automotive retailer. He loves to review and uncover the vehicles and their fascinating stories. He believes in keeping it legitimate with a keen passion for research on the latest technological upgrades in cars. While reading his articles or blogs, you can sense the extensive research and dedication backing the piece of text. He loves fried chicken, music, and spending quality time with his pet dog.

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Does insurance cover car hit by lightning? ›

If you carry comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, you may be covered in the event of a lightning strike, minus the cost of your deductible. Comprehensive coverage protects against non-collision events that are outside of your control like theft, vandalism, and severe weather, including lightning strikes.

Can a car survive a lightning strike? ›

As long as you get out of the car after the lightning strike is over, nothing should happen. The car's body is made of metal, and it will have conducted the electrical charge from the lightning into the ground. It makes no difference to your safety whether the engine is running or not.

Can you claim for lightning damage? ›

Lightning strikes can cause fires inside or outside your home, ruin expensive appliances and electronics, damage wiring in the walls, and potentially shock and injure you or someone in your household. The good news is lightning is covered by almost all homeowners insurance policies.

How do you prove lightning damage? ›

To prove that lightning has damaged your home and belongings, you will need to show proof. A hole, char marks, or other damage to the exterior of your home is great proof and should be photographed as soon as it is safe to go outside.

Why is it safe to sit in a car during lightning? ›

The "correct" answer appears to be because the car acts like a Faraday cage. The metal in the car will shield you from any external electric fields and thus prevent the lightning from traveling within the car.

How often do cars get hit by lightning? ›

They can arrange to have the vehicle examined for damages that may be hidden. While it may be a one-in-a-million chance to get struck by lightning while driving, taking the above precautions will help keep your mind on your driving, and protect you from lightning while out on the road.

Can I claim on my car insurance for storm damage? ›

If a storm hits and it damages your car, you're likely to have to make a call to your insurer. But, as long as you have comprehensive insurance, you should be covered.

Do insurance companies pay out for storm damage? ›

Buildings insurance policies usually cover financial loss caused by storm damage. We say that a storm generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow.

Does car insurance cover electrical problems? ›

Yes, car insurance covers electrical faults, but only if they were caused by a covered scenario like an accident or vandalism.

How do you know if lightning is about to strike you? ›

If your hair stands on end, lightning is about to strike you. Drop to your knees and bend forward but don't lie flat on the ground. Wet ground is a good conductor of electricity.

What are the weaknesses of lightning? ›

Advantages of LightningDisadvantages of Lightning
1. The lightning help to clear the atmosphere of dust and other particulate pollutants by combining these particles and making them heavier to fall.1. It causes damage to property like buildings, crops etc.
2 more rows

Can lightning go through air conditioner? ›

Lightning strikes are statistically very rare and it is generally safe to leave your window ac unit plugged in. Air conditioners are electrically insulated to remain safe in the event of a surge and the refrigerant inside the unit is nonflammable, so you aren't in danger of an explosion.

Can lightning come through a window? ›

Lightning can jump through windows, so keep your distance from them during storms! The second way lightning can enter a building is through pipes or wires. If the lightning strikes utility infrastructure, it can travel through those pipes or wires and enter your home that way.

Can lightning hurt in a car? ›

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground. Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires.

Can you sit on the toilet during lightning? ›

No. Lightning can travel through plumbing. It is best to avoid all water during a thunderstorm.

What should you not do in case of lightning? ›

Avoid windows, doors, porches, and concrete.

Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. Do NOT lie on concrete floors or lean on concrete walls during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

How long does it take for lightning to strike you? ›

An average duration of time for a stroke of lightning is about 30 microseconds.

How painful is a lightning strike? ›

A jolting, excruciating pain. “My whole body was just stopped—I couldn't move any more,” Justin recalls. “The pain was … I can't explain the pain except to say if you've ever put your finger in a light socket as a kid, multiply that feeling by a gazillion throughout your entire body.

What state has the most lightning? ›

The state with the highest count of lightning in the United States in 2021 was Texas, amounting to a sum of 41,914,516 lightning events recorded. Texas always has higher lightning count than any other state, partly due to its size and location.

Does insurance Cover car storm damage? ›

Is hail damage covered by car insurance? Many comprehensive car insurance policies will allow you to claim for hail damage. However, there's usually a waiting period for any damage that is caused by storms, bushfires, floods, or cyclones.

What to do if your car gets struck by lightning and won t start? ›

You will need to have the vehicle towed to a dealer. I have seen many vehicles like this and in most cases, if not all, the computers in the vehicle get zapped and fried. I would recommend contacting your insurance company to see if it is a covered repair since a repair like this may reach the thousands to get fixed.

Does car insurance cover a storm? ›

If a storm hits and it damages your car, you're likely to have to make a call to your insurer. But, as long as you have comprehensive insurance, you should be covered.

What part of auto insurance pays for damage due to a storm or vandalism? ›

Comprehensive insurance coverage is defined as an optional coverage that protects against damage to your vehicle caused by non-collision events that are outside of your control. This includes theft, vandalism, glass and windshield damage, fire, accidents with animals, weather, or other acts of nature.

Can you claim insurance after a storm? ›

It varies. Some home insurance providers give policyholders up to 12 months (from the date of event) to submit a wind claim. Others only give 90 days (from the date of the event) to take action.

How do storm damage insurance claims work? ›

If your home faces damage after a storm, you can file a claim with your insurance company and they'll send an adjuster to assess the damage to your home. After you pay your deductible, your insurance company will help cover the remaining cost up to your coverage limits.

What is the safest thing to do if you are in your car during a lightning storm? ›

Stay inside your vehicle.

A hard-top car with the windows completely shut is the best prevention of lightning strikes snaking inside the vehicle.

What does it mean when a lightning bolt pops up on your car? ›

The lightning bolt warning light alerts you to a fault in the electronic throttle control system in your vehicle. This may be a faulty throttle body, the throttle body sensor or possibly the throttle body control motor which is what controls the opening and closing of the throttle body as the motor requires more fuel.

How do I know if my car has an electrical fault? ›

The 5 Most Common Signs That Your Car's Electrical System Is...
  1. The Engine Won't Crank Properly.
  2. You're Experiencing Battery Problems.
  3. Headlights And Other Lights Are Not Working Properly.
  4. Your Fuses Keep Blowing Out.
  5. You Smell Burning Plastic Or Electrical Insulation.
Feb 8, 2018

What happens when your car has electrical problems? ›

Your vehicle won't start - you turn your key and hear clicking, grinding, or no sound at all. Interior or dashboard lights do not illuminate properly. Your vehicle runs well, but the headlights dim while you're traveling at low speeds, or idling at a stop.

What insurance covers electrician? ›

Public and Products Liability

Products Liability provides protection should you find yourself legally liable for injuries, or property damage, to members of the public in connection with goods you have sold or supplied. Specific indemnity to Safe Electric and local authorities available.


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