Shelters along Kansas Turnpike provide drivers refuge from severe weather

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If you are on the road during severe weather, what do you do to keep you and your loved ones safe? Many motorists might not realize it, but there are 30 tornado shelters all along the Kansas Turnpike.

"In the day time you can kind of see a storm coming, and you can kind of see which way it`s moving, but at night you can`t see anything," said Martha Padgett, a truck driver who is on the road seven days a week.

That means there's a good chance she'll be driving during severe weather.

"We have tornado shelters at all of the plazas, and they`re mainly for our employees and any customers that would be in the general area," said Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper Karl Koenig. "Simply open them up by a door, there`s steps to go down in there, and there`s a small wind turbine on top that provides air when the doors shut."

Each shelter along the 236 mile stretch of highway can hold about 15 people,  but there are a few larger ones underneath certain toll booths.

"These types of tunnel shelters are going to be more at the main plazas," Koenig said.

Aaron Beisly drives the Kansas Turnpike every other week for work. He says sometimes you need shelter immediately living in the Midwest, and it's nice they`re available just in case.

"If you were caught in something, though, and you saw the actual tornado coming and you couldn't drive any further, if I was traveling with my family I would want to keep them safe," Beisly said.

According to the Kansas Turnpike Authority, the biggest problem is getting people to do something safe, as most people want to keep driving.

"My chances are pretty good of outrunning that sucker," said Padgett.

Many drivers believe stopping under an overpass during a storm is a safe alternative. The Kansas Highway Patrol wants to remind everyone that's not safe as it can create a vacuum that leads to an even more dangerous situation.

For a list of shelters, click on this link.