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5 most common activities people are doing when struck and killed by lightning

You might be surprised to learn the number one activity
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 4:15 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 11, 2022 at 7:20 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Lightning is unpredictable and can be deadly if proper precautions are not taken. Do you know the top activities people are doing when struck and killed by lightning?

Many people think golf is the most common activity people are doing when struck by lightning, but you may be surprised to learn it’s not. Golf is a dangerous activity when there’s a thunderstorm nearby, but it’s not even in the top five. In recent years, more golfers have become aware of the lightning risk, cutting down on deaths.

5. Riding a bicycle or motorcycle. Rubber tires don’t provide any protection from lightning. Cars are safe from lightning only because the metal cage of your car directs the lightning safely around anyone sitting inside.

4. Farming or ranching. Because farmers and ranchers work in an open field where they are the tallest object around, they are at high risk of being struck by lightning.

3. Camping. Campers are at risk because they are often in the wilderness away from shelter when storms arrive. Tents, picnic areas, and gazebos are not safe in a storm, so make sure you have a lightning-safe shelter nearby, such as a car or building.

2. The beach. People love to have fun in the sun in the summer, but that’s also the time of year thunderstorms happen most often.

1. Fishing. If you’re holding a metal pole and on the water, you’re at high risk of being struck and killed by lightning.

People camping, biking, farming, fishing or at the beach may be far from shelter when a storm approaches.

So plan ahead, check the NBC12 First Alert Weather App and avoid these activities if thunderstorms are in the forecast. You can also get real-time lightning data on the app.

And as soon as you hear thunder, it’s time to go indoors.

When thunder roars, go indoors! As soon as you hear thunder, it's time to seek shelter in a car...
When thunder roars, go indoors! As soon as you hear thunder, it's time to seek shelter in a car or sturdy building.(WWBT)

Some people who are struck by lightning were heading to shelter, but they did not end their activities soon enough to get to safety.

If you follow these tips, you and your family can stay safe from one of mother nature’s killers this spring and summer season.

2021 actually brought the lowest number of lightning deaths in recorded history in the United States. 11 people were killed by lightning last year in the U.S. On average, that number is closer to 30 people. Lightning safety experts credit improved safety knowledge to the decreasing number of deaths in recent years.

This information on the top 5 activities people are doing while struck and killed by lightning comes from a 2020 report by the National Lightning Safety council.

Get the NBC12 First Alert Weather App, here.

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