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Q&A: Tornado safety tips while driving

Car/tornado tips are still valid

For as long as I can remember, we have been told if you are in a car that is in the path of a tornado, you should get out of the car, lie down in a ditch and protect your head. I first heard this probably in the 1960s before cars had seat belts, air bags or other modern safety features. Tornadoes obviously haven't changed since the 1960s, but cars sure have. Cars today have crush zones, safety glass, air bags, seat belts, collapsible steering columns, impact absorbing bumpers, side door beams, and they meet stringent rollover standards established by the federal government. However, the tornado safety advice has never changed. Is this still the right advice?

Even with the improvements in safety features of cars, they still are far more dangerous in tornadoes than a sturdy, permanent building, Roger Edwards, tornado specialist with the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He says that strong tornadoes easily can flip, throw and crush vehicles. Passengers and drivers don't know how strong the tornado is until it hits, and that's a potentially deadly chance to take.

But if you are already driving and cannot get to safer shelter or out of the way of a tornado, the National Weather Service and American Red Cross recommend:

• Stay in the car and keep your seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and an item like a blanket, if possible.

• If you can safely get lower than the level of the road, exit the vehicle and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

Newt Gingrich's marriage stats

How many wives has Newt Gingrich had? Is it true that he presented his first wife with divorce papers when she was in the hospital fighting cancer? Most importantly, is she still living?

Gingrich has had three marriages. His first wife, Jackie Battley, is still alive, according to the Associated Press. He married his second wife, Marianne Ginther, in 1981.

The former U.S. House speaker admitted to having an affair during his second marriage with a former congressional aide, Callista Bisek, whom he married in 2000.

Esquire reported in 2010 that Gingrich presented his first wife divorce terms while she was in the hospital recovering from uterine cancer.

Suicide rates now vs. 1930s

What are the recent statistics on suicides, and how do they compare with those of the Great Depression of the 1930s?

The most recent suicide rates data shows that there were 11.5 deaths per 100,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the Great Depression, suicide rates peaked at about 17 per 100,000 people.

Q&A: Tornado safety tips while driving 03/27/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 27, 2011 4:30am]
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