Transcript for How to Stay Safe in a Lightning Storm
? You are about to meet a woman who survived a nightmare scenario. Her car hit by lightning while she was driving. Conventional wisdom says take shelter during stormy weather but there could be dangers inside of your ride. With summer storm season upon us, what should you do? Here's ABC's gio Benitez. I can't get out of my car. Reporter: Tonight shattered glass, burned steel and a frantic 911 call. I was doing 45 and all of a sudden my air bags just went off. I can't, I don't know if my car got hit by lightning. I don't know what happened sglit was a light bright light. The car lit up. Reporter: Sheena Easterday was driving through a severe thunderstorm in St. Petersburg, Florida, when all of a sudden her car shook. I kept hitting the locks but it wouldn't work. The car was smoky from the air bags I guess. Makes me not want to drive in the rain ever again. Reporter: A lightning bolt struck in front of the car. You can see the jarring force the lightning strike can have on a moving vehicle. Look as this pickup is jolted after taking a direct hit. Cars are designed to divert lightning around the shell of the car and down to the ground. While many think that rubber car tires protect against lightning strikes, experts say it is a myth. Lightning can melt electrical systems and in some cases cause the car to burst in to flames and they say it is one of many. Lightning is unpredictable and can strike a bolt through conventional wisdom. I saw the power of lightning firsthand. Covering storms in Alabama. This is the same storm in Tuscaloosa. Lightning does not strike only when it is raining. It can strike quite far from the storm. Lightning can travel through clear skies and actually strike with blue sky overhead. Reporter: Dow how do you protect yourself when you are on the road? First if you are in the car during a storm, pull over on the side of the road and wait the storm out. Second lightning researcher, Joseph Dwyer said don't touch anything electrical that can connect you to the outside elements. Don't want to fiddle with the radio, playing with the windows. In fact, it's best not to touch anything. Reporter: Thirdly if you can get in a building, do so. Even being indoors doesn't guarantee your safety. Teresa Celeste from upstate new York told our ginger zee how lightning entered through her ceiling and struck her on her couch while getting a foot rub from her mother. I was sitting here like this and it was thundering and lightning and one strike in the backyard and I said, that is so close. You saw it? I saw that lightning and then I heard the sound. I went like this and my mother felt the jolt. Right through your hands. I felt it. She felt it. I don't remember feeling anything. I still can't to this day believe that I was hit by lightning sitting on my couch. Reporter: When it comes to myths, here's another one. The old saying lightning doesn't strike twice, that's not true. Every commercial plane on average gets hit by lightning once a year. This Boeing 757 had its nose ripped open after struck by lightning midair. Shook violently for a half second. Reporter: New York's empire state building gets struck by lightning about 25 times a year. One world trade center, the tallest building in the country was struck last week. Starts up in the thunderstorm and as it comes to the ground it's looking for something to strike. There's no reason it couldn't strike the same tree twice or the same area twice. Reporter: Multiple strikes are not just limited to planes and buildings. It can happen to people, too. Bob Edwards was hit three times sglit felt like somebody hit me in the chest with a sledgehammer. Reporter: For the unlucky folks that get struck and your chances are one in 12,000 in your lifetime, chances are you will survive. 90% of those hit live to tell the tale. I don't have any lives to spare. I used all nine of them I think. Reporter: Sebastian, just 7 years old was hit with lightning standing next to a bay window. We heard this big koosh and I could see my son on the ground and his foot was smoking. Reporter: If you are struck by lightning it can be physically incapacitating. When someone is struck by lightning the currents flow through their body. The currents can reach 30,000 amps. As the current flows the voltage between your feet and head rises to the point where you spark across the surface of your body. Reporter: Others who survive say the effects are long lasting. The lower legs, there's no muscle left in them. They will not rebuild. I have been working out with a trainer every week for 14 years and they just won't rebuild. Reporter: Michael Utley was hit by lightning playing in a golf tournament. Heard the loudest bang of my life. As soon as that happened, we turned around an Mike was on the green, scorched, his shoes blown off and he was unconscious, smokin'. Reporter: Some of the damage may not have been seen. If you have a laptop and spilled a Coca-Cola on it. You can clean it up. The laptop would look the same but I don't think it would run the same. Reporter: To make sure it doesn't happen to you, Dwyer stresses being indoors is the safest place to be. Don't be next to a win doerks don't talk on the computer, fiddle with the lamp, don't connect yourself electrically to the outside world. It is not a good time to take a bath or shower. The electrical lines can spark to the plumbing and shock you. Reporter: For Sheena Easterday, who's father and uncle were both struck by lightning separately, they are fortunate it didn't end in a flash. For "Nightline," I'm gio Benitez in New York. Up next, Elizabeth banks
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