- Huge anvil-shaped thunderheads coming your way are lightning factories: bad, bad news.
- Mind the “30/30″ rule: if you see a flash and hear the thunder within 30 seconds, you’re potentially in danger, and you will be for 30 minutes after you see the last flash.
- Enclosed, hard-roofed areas with the windows closed are generally safe; convertible cars — and tents — are worthless.
Really, there is no protection from lightning as long as you’re outdoors. All you can do is reduce the risk of a strike:
- Avoid open areas like clearings, meadows, ridges and hilltops.
- Avoid solitary trees.
- Try to hunker down in forested areas with a large number of trees of uniform size.
Lightning-safety tips abound online, such as:
- GetOutdoors.com (the GoBlog gang) has a refreshingly mature page of advice on avoiding getting toasted.
- Hiker Hell interviews a mountain rescue expert.
- Ehow.com has an eight-step safety guide.
- About.com notes that lightning does in fact strike twice in the same place.
- Struckbylighting.org has tons of facts, figures and helpful links.
People joke about the odds of being struck by lightning, but being outdoors definitely improves (well, worsens) your odds. Don’t expect to be as lucky as Roy Williams, the guy who survived seven strikes.