Storm chasing can be quite ‘a ride’ if you know what you’re doing. Personally, the moment when you finally see that tornado can be an exhilarating experience and one you never forget. However, the adventure can be quite frightening as well. The most dangerous part of storm chasing is not the storms..it’s being on the road. There are some risks that a chaser must be aware of when out on the road. Here’s just a sample:
Distracted Driving- The multitasking in monitoring the storm on a laptop combined with adverse road conditions during a storm chase can further add to the basic risks of the road for a chaser or others on the road. Having a partner with you in the car could alleviate the problem.
Hydroplaning – Many chasers have had hydroplaning accidents..some serious. The push to catch and keep up with a storm often tempts a chaser to drive faster than is safe. In the Midwest, many secondary roads are unpaved. When these roads get wet from rain, they turn into a surface that behaves exactly like black ice to a vehicle.
Animals – A very small handful chase-in-progress deaths were caused by animal-on-the-road accidents at night. Chasers can drive many miles at night, a time when wildlife such as deer dart out into the roadway.
Excessive speed – Sudden sharp turns and other road hazards can make it even more deadly when a chaser is traveling at a high rate of speed.
If you’re interested in giving storm chasing a try, my advice, be part of a private storm chasing tour. These guys know what they are doing. There are many out there. Remember, no matter the results, I can guarantee you’ll have an awesome time.