When bad weather is afoot, it may seem like a brilliant idea to park under a highway overpass. After all, it’s a big concrete-and-asphalt strip that can protect you from the worst of the elements; seems smart, right?
Wrong. Don’t do it.
Two recent tweets from the National Weather Service Twitter accounts have shown exactly why that’s the case.
I bring you: Exhibit A from NWS North Platte.
Now please consider: Exhibit B from NWS Omaha.
As you can tell, things escalated very quickly. In the first photo, it appeared that about 10 different cars had decided to pull over to avoid an oncoming hailstorm in Des Moines, Iowa. The camera is a bit grainy, and the angle makes it difficult to tell, but it honestly seems like some of those cars have bumped into each other already by that point.
The first photo was posted at 2:04 p.m. The second came a mere eight minutes later, at 2:12. Now, instead of a few cars parked under the overpass, there’s a massive accident spanning across every lane of traffic.
When one person decides to park under the overpass, it is as if the rest of the world’s fools have been summoned, and suddenly everyone wants to hide out and protect their cars from the storm. Parking under an overpass during a storm is like being the first person to step into a nice, cool air conditioned store but stopping just inside the threshold. Sure, you’re nice and cool now, but you just screwed everyone else over by letting them continue to bake outside — and when the angry mob gets big enough, they’re gonna shove you out of the way.
The best advice I can offer here is that, if there’s a warning of severe weather, don’t get on the road. If that’s not an option, then pull off the highway and wait things out in a parking lot or covered garage. If you can, take shelter in a building. And for the love of god, do not pull over on the side of the road and clog up traffic.