Driving Tips for Tornado Weather

In an average year, 1,200 tornadoes cause 60-65 deaths and 1,500 injuries nationwide, reports the National Weather Service. While the peak season for tornadoes in the southeastern U.S. is February through April, tornadoes can occur at any time of day and on any day of the year, so it’s a good idea to be prepared year round.

Spot a tornado

If you notice a dark or green-colored sky, a large, low-lying cloud, large hail, and hear a loud roar that sounds like a freight train, it’s time to take cover says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If possible, tune in to NOAA Weather Radio by logging on to weather.gov or listen to your local television or radio weather channel.

Before severe weather develops, talk to your family about a plan of action. You may think you can easily outrun a tornado in a vehicle or you’ll have time to find shelter, but tornadoes can move in any direction and even suddenly change the direction they’re traveling. It never hurts to be prepared!

Taking shelter on the road

If you can avoid being on the road during severe weather, do it. A car is one of the least desirable places you can be during a tornado as it can be easily flipped by tornado winds. Here are tips from the Storm Prediction Center for staying safe if you’re caught by a tornado in your car or truck:


  • Find shelter in a sturdy building or underground.
  • If you’re caught by extreme winds or shelter is not available, park your car in a traffic-free area and stay inside with your seat belt on. Lower your head between your knees and cover it with your hands, a blanket, coat, or cushion. 
  • If you can get significantly lower than the roadway, get out of your car and lie in that area. Cover your head with your hands, a blanket, coat, or cushion, advises The Storm Prediction Center.

After a tornado

Vehicles can be easily overturned by a tornado, so do your best to avoid being on the road during severe weather. After a tornado ,

  • Check for injuries;
  • Wait for emergency personnel to arrive;
  • Watch out for debris, falling objects, and rolling objects;
  • Watch out for damaged power lines, gas lines, and electrical systems;
  • And avoid power lines and puddles with wires in them. They could be carrying electricity!

Check out the CDC’s in-depth overview for what to do after a tornado , and tune into NOAA Weather Radio, your local broadcast, and/or The Weather Channel for the latest information on weather in your area after a tornado.

How Direct helps

If you’re a Direct policyholder and have suffered significant property damage, injury, or have lost a loved one in recent catastrophic weather events, we are sincerely sorry for your loss. If you live in a federal disaster area and are unable to make your car insurance payment as a result, please contact your local agent or customer service at 1-877-463-4732.

Direct also has a Catastrophic Response Team (CAT Team) that responds to weather-related emergencies, such as hurricanes, hailstorms, tornadoes, and floods to assess affected policyholders and their damages. To report a catastrophic claim, call 1-800-403-1077. Learn more about filing a claim

Driving Tips for Tornado Weather
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