Lightning safety: If you hear thunder, you could get hit

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Lightning kills more men than women each year. The reason: men tend to be outside more often and they tend to take more risks - ignoring the signs. The sign couldn't be clearer. It's called thunder.

Thunder is the sound that lightning makes, as superheated air expands and contracts quickly - so if you hear thunder, you're close enough to be struck.

Head for a sturdy building if possible, but in a pinch a car will do. It's not the rubber tires on the car it's the metal cage, which deflects electricity around the passenger compartment. Maggie Bagley can attest to that.

"We heard a huge crack of thunder. It sounded like it was in the front yard," said Maggie.

The next morning there was major electrical damage to her car and her neighbors, which was parked directly behind Maggie's.

"I started my car and every warning on my dashboard was on," said Maggie. "The computer was fried and every fuse was fried. They're still working on it."

But the inside of the car; no damage at all, proving a car can keep you safe.

When a building or car isn't around do not head for the cover under trees. That's a bad idea! Check out this photo from the "Send it to 12" section of our website. It was sent by in Ben Rott in Chester. If he was standing underneath when the lightning hit-- it would have been bad!

Finally, lightning tends to hit the tallest thing around. If you are stuck in the middle of a field you're the tallest object. If you can't get to a car or a sturdy building, then crouch down and hope for the best.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.