The Reason Why Lightning Doesn't Take the Shortest Path

Lightning bolts rarely take a straight line down to the Earth, but why is that?

Does lightning scare you? Does it have you running under covers to look for shelter? Well, it should because lightning does strike and you never know where.

According to the National Weather Service, between 1989 and 2018, the U.S. had 43 reported lightning fatalities on average per year. 10 percent of people who are struck by lightning are killed, and the remaining lives with varying degrees of disability.

Aside from the fact that they are frightening, have you ever wondered why lightning does not follow the shortest path? They're known for their jagged form, and they rarely descend in a straight line. What if we knew a little more about how lightning travels? Would that protect us from being struck by a lightning?

"In this video, I show you why lightning and sparks don't take the shortest path when they occur. I talk about lightning and where it is likely to strike. Should you actually hide near a tree during a thunderstorm?" YouTuber The Action Lab states in his latest video.

Using a Tesla coil, the YouTuber generates lightning so he can analyze it, and boy oh boy does that thing spark! If you're curious to know the answers to the questions mentioned above, watch the video to find out.

Follow Us on

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

Just enter your email and we’ll take care of the rest:

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.