We have all seen the Hollywood movies or heard the myths about being able to take shelter under a bridge or overpass during a tornado. The question is, is this really something that could save your life? Is it really safe to seek shelter under a bridge during a tornado? In reality, the answer to this question is pretty easy, NO. Seeking shelter under a bridge is extremely dangerous for numerous reasons.
1. You are still very vulnerable to being hit with all kinds of flying debris. The number one way people are killed during tornadoes is by going outside to seek shelter and eventually being hit with debris traveling hundreds of miles an hour. Being under a bridge does little to protect you from being hit.
2. Even if there is some type of barrier to hold on to, wind speeds can be in the excess of 200 miles per hour. This isn’t the movie ‘Twister.’ Not many people would be able to hold themselves against a barrier while fighting off wind speeds of that force for possibly multiple minutes. If you were pulled out from under the bridge, survival would not be likely.
3. Many people are aware that roads, and bridges for that matter, in this state are some times very old and dated. The structural integrity of many bridges during tornadoes is not known and many could fall apart due to excessive wind speeds crushing people below. Even if the bridge doesn’t completely fall apart it could still crack or chip causing debris that could still fall down on to people seeking shelter.
These are a few reasons why a person should not seek shelter from a tornado underneath a bridge. If your on the highway during a tornado, then what should you do? Definitely don’t stay in your car. Being in a parked vehicle is just as deadly as being under a bridge. Your only option in this scenario is to try and park your vehicle off of the highway and seek shelter inside some type of sturdy structure or lie flat on the ground as far away from the highway as you can get (to avoid being hit by cars that could be thrown by the tornado). Neither of these options are great and will still take luck in order to survive. In a prefect world, everybody would be able to get inside of a storm shelter. Being underground is your best bet of survival.