Debunking Commonly Held Misconceptions About Lightning

Lightning is a natural phenomenon that’s both beautiful and dangerous. Getting struck by about 300 million volts can lead to serious health risks, including cardiac arrest and burns. Staying alert and safe when lightning roams reduces your risk. Knowing how lightning works and staying well-informed further enhances your safety. Let’s debunk commonly held misconceptions about lightning and discover how to remain alert and safe.

Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice

Lightning can strike the same place more than once. Every year, lightning strikes the US around 40 million times. Within those 40 million times, many of those strikes hit the same spot repeatedly.

Lightning doesn’t track where it has and hasn’t been—it’ll strike any solid object in its path, no matter whether that object has been hit already. A lone boat on open water or a golf cart out in the middle of the course is prone to multiple lightning hits due to its isolation and large surface area in the line of potential lightning routes.

Lightning Only Occurs When It’s Cloudy or Rainy

You can hear thunder roaring 10 miles away from you, but lightning can strike from 25 miles away from you. The speed of light is considerably faster than the speed at which sound travels. Lightning can travel far, sometimes further past the center of a storm. Even if the sky is clear around you, lightning from a nearby storm can strike. You are vulnerable to lightning, whether the storm clouds are directly above you or out in the distance.

Heat Lightning Is Different From Regular Lightning

Heat lightning is commonly referred to as silent lightning flashes on the horizon during humid nights. The heat refers to their occurrence on warmer summer days. However, heat lightning doesn’t really exist, as the silent lightning flashes are no different from regular lightning bolts that you get year-round.

Since light can travel further and faster than sound, you just see the lightning flashes and don’t hear their thunder. With summer’s clearer skies, you can see further in the distance than you can during other times of the year, which is why you see more “silent” lightning flashes. Heat lighting is just as dangerous as any other lightning strike because it’s the same as any other lightning bolt.

You Are Safer From Strikes if You Get Down Low

Lightning will strike anything in its path. Taller, pointier, and larger objects are more likely to get struck because they interrupt more space in the lightning’s path. Most people are told to get down low and crouch to protect themselves from lightning.

Although making yourself smaller and lower to the ground reduces your chances of being struck compared to a taller and bigger object, you are still at high risk if you are in an open area. You are still a potential target. The best protection from lightning strikes is to head indoors.

These debunked common misconceptions about lightning further highlight lightning’s threats and dangerous capabilities. With effective lightning detectors, people can remain aware of lightning risks and quickly head indoors or out of striking distance and into safety.

At TALOS, we offer multiple types of lightning detectors perfect for OEMs designing golf carts, boats, and other machinery that are high targets for lightning strikes or outdoor applications where users are at risk. Check out our lightning detectors and improve your clients’ situational awareness and lightning safety.

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Looks and works great!

Easy to set up and install on our boat. It provides assurance knowing we have an advanced warning system in place for storm fronts.

John G. - TALOS Lightning Detector
Looks and works great!

Easy to set up and install on our boat. It provides assurance knowing we have an advanced warning system in place for storm fronts.

John G. - TALOS Lightning Detector