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Protection of car from thndrstrom

  1. Sep 9, 2009 #1
    why you are safe inside a metal car during a thunderstrom??????
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2009 #2
    Yes, just dont touch the sides or any exposed metal part.

    edit: just noticed you asked why. the lightning is trying to get to the ground and takes the path that offers least resistance, metal conducts. During a thunderstorm yor cars acts a little bit like a faraday cage.
  4. Sep 9, 2009 #3
    But what about the elcetric field generated by induced charges on the car?????
  5. Sep 9, 2009 #4


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    Science Advisor

    The electric field is only on the outside. It can't penetrate a conductor.
  6. Sep 9, 2009 #5
    Hi there,

    Firstly, you are safer in a car, because of our good friend Faraday. Your car acts as a Faraday cage. Therefore, eventhough you would touch metal parts, as long as you are from within, you should be safe.

    Secondly, your car is mounted on 4 big isolators, commonly called tires. Since thnuder will try to "find" the easiest way, it would not take the isolators as the path to go.

  7. Sep 9, 2009 #6
    Fatra the fact that it had 4 rubber tires makes not a jot of difference.

    Air isnt a good conducter and the lightning travelled about a mile through that to get to the ground, the equivilant of an inch of rubber wont make a bit of difference. The rubber tires thing is a bit of an old wives tale, same thing about wearing rubber boots.

    On a note about the electric field, it does mess up your electronics (not permanently but the dashboard warnings will light up like a chirstmas tree).

    And a quick search of youtube gives
    Demonstration courtesy of Top Gear.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  8. Sep 9, 2009 #7


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    In fact, lightining can travel as far as twenty miles through the air. One way or another, the lightning which sxtrikes your car will find its way out the bottom of the vehicle to ground. If nothing else, it wil jump the <12" gap between the bottom of the chassis and the ground below; the tires might as well not even be there.
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