How safe is a convertible in a lightning-prone area?


#1

I live in a very lightning prone part of Florida. We get a lot of ‘liquid sunshine’. How safe is a convertable versus a hardtop?


#2

I guess you are asking which is safer when struck by lightning . It will not make any difference because just being close to a lightning strike can be fatal .


#3

I would not hesitate to get another convertible in Florida, but if it really concerns you, why not get a retractable instead.


#4

I live in Florida, I have owned a convertible in Florida.

It isn’t lightening that concerns me driving a convertible. What concerns me is I could only use it about 4 months a year without being burned off the seat with the sunshine we get here.

Lightening is only a problem for golfers and beach walkers too stupid to come in during a storm!


#5

Same here, I’m in FL, my brother is in MN, I told him he probably had more ‘top down’ days there than I have!


#6

Cars are safe because they’re Faraday cages. Convertibles, lacking a metal roof, aren’t, so I’d expect them to be less safe - not that getting struck by lightning happens often. Perhaps a lightning rod would help. In the good old days of external antennas (they’re all in the windows these days, right?) this would have served, at the expense of the radio. I guess nobody’s listening to AM anymore, making external antennas less useful.


#7

You probably know someone that has been in a plane when it has been struck by lightning. Right, its a metal cage and death is not imminent. Of course it can have an impact on system but it is not going to allow your heart to take a direct hit or extremities be burned off. Being in a convertible without the metal roof is no better than just being outside, except you are a little lower to the ground. Lightning is looking for the highest easiest path to ground, so don’t park by a street sign or tree, but really I think convertibles are over-rated. More for show than fun.


#8

I disagree , our Corvette convertible was really fun . Even in cool weather with the heater blasting away or hot weather with air conditioner on.


#9

You raise a good question that I’ve never thought about. My initial reaction is that it’s less safe because you lose most of the Faraday cage effect. These web pages seem to support that position:

http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/vehicle_strike.html

They also mention fiberglass bodies, which is a similar issue that I’ve never considered before.


#10

It seems that most convertibles today have retractable hard tops made of steel or aluminum, canvas top convertibles have aluminum or steel frame work in the top.

In my area death by lightning strike is unheard of, a person is more likely to be killed by gun fire. How many motorist are killed by lightning each year in Florida?


#11

I would think that if you’re concerned about convertibles and safety, the more likely scenario is an accident with a rollover.
Would you be less safe from lightning in a convertible? Sure. Are you more likely to be driving with lightning in a convertible? Much less likely. If I was considering a convertible, the lightning hazard wouldn’t be enough to tip my decision either way.


#12

I can’t say I agree with that…my 01 Solara cloth top was by far my most favorite and one of the most fun to drive, especially with the top down! I took a trip down to Florida in it too, other than the daily quick rain storm, I kept the top down while driving around town (Winter Park) while visiting friends.


#13

It’s no more dangerous than a hard-top Corvette.


#14

You’d be safer from lightening in a hard-top, but not that much. It’s very unlikely you’d be hurt by lightening strike in either configuration. The soft top wouldn’t be nearly as safe as the hardtop in event of a roll-over of course. That’s probably the bigger concern. There was a lot of lightening in Colorado where I used to live, and I never heard of anyone being hurt b/c their car was struck by lightening. Some cars were damaged b/c of that, mostly parked cars with nobody in them, but even striking an occupied car, I don’t recall hearing of anybody being hurt. Not to say such a thing is impossible of course.


#15

You are OK as long as you are not touching metal in the car. According to the new reports anyway some years ago. Not common but it happens and you usually need new tires after that.