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Man Killed By Lightning on Motorcycle

Makes me wonder, but sort of off topic... In the rare event that a car is hit by lightning during a storm, does anything actually happen to the car? Other than a nasty black mark..
 
Just depends. Sometimes it fries the electronics... I remember another news story where lightning shattered the windshield and struck the passenger seat. There is also risk of fire...

Aaron
 
I had a friend who purchased a new car, don't remeber the make, but It was struck by lightning about a month after he got it and it fried all the electronics... everything. He had it replaced, I never got to see the car afterwards, truly a stroke of bad luck.
 
Witnesses said that the lightning came out of nowhere.

Also, the bolt blasted a hole in the asphalt.

Sounds like a positive strike.
 
Slight thread hijack from this sad, freak story. That was one unlucky guy. :(

Don't use a cell phone outdoors in a thunderstorm -- a reeeeely stupid article IMHO. Careful!

Total misuse of statistics propped up by a very questionable hypothesis about "flashover" and "contact with metal." Enjoy.
 
Apparently, he was the newspaper carrier for my neighborhood... which explains why I haven't received a paper the past couple of days. He was working several jobs to support his family. Tragic, indeed.
 
Just depends. Sometimes it fries the electronics... I remember another news story where lightning shattered the windshield and struck the passenger seat. There is also risk of fire...

Aaron
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I remember hearing that a car was one of the safest places to be in order to be protected by lightning.

I guess that's nothing more than an urban myth. :huh: <_<
 
I remember hearing that a car was one of the safest places to be in order to be protected by lightning.

I guess that's nothing more than an urban myth. :huh: <_<
[/b]
The metal in the body of the car acts as a Faraday cage to "divert" the strike around the car's occupants, so, yep, it is a safe place to be. The rubber in the tires have nothing to do with grounding the car...that part is an urban myth. Of course, as we all know, nothing concerning weather is either written in stone or guaranteed, so there's always the chance of a freaky occurrance happening.
 
The metal in the body of the car acts as a Faraday cage to "divert" the strike around the car's occupants, so, yep, it is a safe place to be. The rubber in the tires have nothing to do with grounding the car...that part is an urban myth. Of course, as we all know, nothing concerning weather is either written in stone or guaranteed, so there's always the chance of a freaky occurrance happening.
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Angie's absolutely correct about the Farraday cage effect. This was documented in a series of experiments in Germany where electrical shocks were delivered to a driving car. Lightning has a series of different phases when it comes in contact with an object (including splashover where the electricity acts almost like a fluid due to the object reaching a "saturation" point where electricity cannot be conducted further through the object), but still prefers the path of least resistance. Since the metal frame conducts electricity, it preferentially will travel around the frame. However numerous case reports indicate that the "splashover" can enter the car through an open window and shock its occupants. So the frame is not a perfect conductor.

When the lightning enters the tires through the rims, the electricity still tries to reach the ground, but cannot penetrate the rubber due to the high resistance. As a consequence, the lightning will "shoot out" the steel belts and contact the ground by arcing. This frequently can result in excessive heat leading to tire blowout. In fact, tire blowout was a very likely precipitant in the motorcyclist's death, and is the usual cause of death in individuals who die within a closed car that is struck by lightning at highway speeds.

Probably more than you wanted to know. Bill Hark and I are very interested in lightning's effects on individuals and I maintain a small pool of patient data. Very fascinating stuff, but nevertheless tragic.
 
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