The most dangerous part of storm chasing is the road

People who have never gone storm chasing don’t always believe me when I say it’s a very boring hobby. Hours of driving can lead to…steady rain. Or blue skies. Or any number of outcomes that were probably not worth the time and money invested. They see movies or “reality” TV shows and assume it’s constantly a dangerous, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.

Well it is dangerous, as we were reminded last week. Three chasers were killed in an automobile accident after one driver apparently ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle. I had never heard of the driver in question, so I can’t begin to speculate about his approach. Chances are he was a safe and conscientious driver most of the time. But it only takes one time. In that picture I saw that purports to be the fatal intersection, the stop sign is several feet away from the road. It’s easy to miss if something else grabs your attention.

Any chaser without a “close call” story is full of it (or just has a really bad memory). Distracted driving is dangerous, and chasing — especially near the storm — is an exercise in distracted driving. Maps, radar, radios, storm structure, cameras. All of these things compete for attention, but still you have to watch the road. Even with someone in the passenger seat, it can be hard to focus on the task at hand.

Truth be told, I’m surprised there haven’t been more deaths due to road accidents. The tornado isn’t the dangerous part.

One thought on “The most dangerous part of storm chasing is the road

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *