How To Tell If Your Car Was Struck By Lightning

Perhaps you are wondering about how to tell if your car was struck by lightning.

When there is a lightning storm outside, it is definitely not ideal to be out and about – and not even in your car, especially since cars CAN get struck by lightning.

So, how do you know if lightning did hit you? Sometimes, the engine may stop immediately, or windows may break. But in the case of a low-intensity lightning strike, it may not cause these issues except for some burn marks on the exterior of your vehicle.

Hence, it is best to stay safe and not be in your car to prevent yourself from even greater problems. Here are some signs that your car was struck by lightning – and how to prevent these.

how to tell if your car was struck by lightning

How To Tell If Your Car Was Struck By Lightning

Some people think that their tires can protect themselves from lightning. But the truth is that the car’s framework has a heavy impact on this situation. The metal is a conduction barrier, which is why electricity is blocked from getting inside your vehicle. Well, this is supposing that your windows are completely sealed and the exterior of your car is in good condition.

But if you are driving a convertible with a soft top, then lightning can easily impact your safety and your vehicle’s driving performance when lightning strikes.

Your windows may shatter, your tires may blow out, and yes, your vehicle may catch fire!

Generally, the lightning hits your antenna, especially if you are at a high location. The same happens when you are close to a power pole, stoplight, or a tree – anything that’s high and tall.

Thus, even if your vehicle is brand new, these conditions can cause serious safety risks to you.

When lightning hits your car, this makes your vehicle basically inoperable. Whether you have an electric-powered, diesel, or gas-operated vehicle, it is no match for a strong lightning strike.

Among the indicators of being struck by lightning are:

  • Burn marks
  • Tire damage
  • Brake malfunction
  • Airbag deployment
  • Fried antenna
  • Electrical system damage
  • Engine damage
  • Airbag deployment
  • Power lock failure
  • Engine malfunction
  • Fire ignition

And worse, injuries to all passengers.

Thankfully, the likelihood of being struck by lightning is not very common. If it does happen, the damage is only minimal. But it also means that you need to be extra careful, especially if all the right elements are in place when there is a lightning storm.

Staying Safe During A Lightning Storm

staying safe during a lightning storm

With all these things in mind, it makes perfect sense to perform some precautions when caught in a lightning storm.

First thing you need to do is to park your car in a safe area. Turn the engine off but be sure to keep the emergency lights lit up, so other motorists can see you when you park on the side of the road.

The last thing you want is to park your car under a power pole, tree, or any object that’s tall, high, and are lightning magnets.

Moreover, you should stay as low as possible to the ground. Stay away from metal and tall objects.

But if you must remain in the car, you should not touch any metal components of your vehicle such as the door handles, seat belts, and steering wheel. Keep your hands away from these things to avoid problems.

If you are in a camper or RV, do not touch the vehicle’s framework at all. Unplug all devices if you are charging any and do not even consider using any of these until you are certain that the lightning storm is over.

Read More: Why Do My Tires Screech When I Turn 


Lightning is a powerful and terrifying phenomena when you find yourself at the wrong place and at the wrong time. This is why if you are driving your vehicle, or you are in your car when lightning occurs, you should stay safe by avoiding tall objects that are lightning magnets.

Be sure to observe these safety precautions and know more about the signs that your car was struck by lightning through the items we have shared in this post. Stay safe out there!

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