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Built Ford Tough!?

TPLYNCH

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Just saw this in my local paper. Must have been pretty freaky...

Lightning hits vehicle but occupants unhurt
2001-06-24
CARMEL — Lightning struck a the antenna of a Brewster couple’s 1998 Ford Explorer on Route 301 early Saturday, wrecking the vehicle, but leaving the couple unharmed.

“It happened so quickly we didn’t get a chance to think,” said Gerry Locascio afterwards.

“When we realized what happened, we started to shake,” he added.

It was raining hard as Gerry and Katherine Locascio were crossing the West Branch Reservoir causeway at 1:30 a.m. when the car was struck. The antenna disintegrated, both airbags deployed, the windshield cracked and both front tires flattened.

“We were creeping along in a torrential downpour when all of a sudden we heard a tremendous boom and the car filled up with smoke,” Gerry Locascio said.

A section of Route 301 was also damaged by lightning, police said.
 



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tbomb

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geez, that must have been damn scary. you think the front tires were flattened from the force of the lightning, or were they firestones? heh. (sorry i coudnt resist.) glad to see no one was hurt. i remember my high school physics teacher telling us that if our car got struck by lightning while we were in it, we'd be fine, so i guess she was right.
 






jimbo74

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yeah yousd live ....but at what cost?....it must be bc Xs are soooo tough....that is some scary crap.....
 






Robert

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It's not just the Explorer. I was reading a message a week ago on the Ford Lightning board by a Lightning owner that was behind a Chrysler minivan stopped at a red light. The van in front of him got struck by lightning. It completely fried everything electrical in the van but the lady and her two kids weren't harmed. They didn't even know they were struck. They just heard a loud "boom", the engine died and the radio went off. That was going through my head when I took my family out to see the fireworks on the 4th and got got in a lightning storm. Only got to see 20 minutes worth of fireworks before the called the show. The 20 minutes were quite spectacular though. Every firework was followed up by a huge bolt of lightning, followed by a loud clap of thunder. Had the crowd going.
 






leenjen

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i never heard of lightning striking a vehicle. would that make the battery explode? if so, i'm glad i dont have a second battery inside my car anymore.
 






Stephen S

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Being unharmed in a vehicle that is struck by lightning is a result of the design of automobiles. The type of car doesn't matter at all. The car provides a steel cage around you, which acts as the electrical conductor, instead of your body. The electricity provided by the lightning flows around you through the car's metal body and frame, leaving you untouched. The front tires were probably flattened when the electricity left the vehicle. Since it was struck near the front, the closest path of least resistance to ground was probably through the front rims (closest thing to the ground most likely), which would, in turn, burn holes through the tires as the bolt arced to ground. The safest place to be in a lightning storm is in a car.

Someone else may be able to explain this phenomemon better than I can, but this is the way I understand that it works.
 






leenjen

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Originally posted by Stephen S
The front tires were probably flattened when the electricity left the vehicle.

wouldn't it be when the electricity entered the vehicle?
electric current travels from negative to positive. i have heard many times that lightning goes from the ground up. dont know if it's actually true, but that would make sense since the ground is always negative.
 






jimbo74

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the positive is the lightning bolt. it wants to ground itself.... it hits something and then goes through it to ground
 






Stephen S

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Leenjen, you may actually be right about that, but I have heard that point disputed many times. I'm not a lightning expert (just fascinated by the stuff) and I have heard it goes from the ground up and from the clouds down. I'm not sure which is correct. But in any case, my point was that the bolt probably passed through the rim to complete the circuit.
 






Stephen

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I've always been told the same thing, a car is the safest place to be in a lightning storm. I had a customer and friend of mine killed on the golf course by lightning, the lightning struck his club while he was in his backswing, now thats freaky.
 






espnfreak

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originally i thought you guys were talking about the ford lightening and i was confused :-(
 






leenjen

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i'm definately not an expert on lightning either. i just think it's scary as hell, and i'd hate to be stuck. i read somewhere that some guy claims he was struck by lightning 3 times!! he's one luck guy surviving that 3 times, if it's true.
 






leenjen

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.

Originally posted by jas84
originally i thought you guys were talking about the ford lightening and i was confused :-(

lol... that's what i thought the first time i read it too. it took me a few seconds to realize. i was wondering why the antenna disintegrated from a collision.
 






FitzMatt

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That would be totally scary, what a cool story to tell though!!
 






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