What Should I Do If I’m About to Get Struck by Lightning?


It’s oft repeated that the best thing to do if you’re caught out in a thunderstorm is to lie down flat, but that’s dead wrong. If you think you’re about to be struck by lightning—and you might be able to tell because the electrical charge will make your skin tingle and your hair stand on end—you want to get as low as you can while keeping as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Experts recommend this position: Cover your ears, crouch on the balls of your feet like a baseball catcher, and touch your heels together. This creates a circuit for the charge to travel, allowing the bolt to ride up one foot, down the other, and back into the ground—rather than coursing through the rest of your body.

This story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of mental_floss magazine. Subscribe to our print edition here, and our iPad edition here.