Kansas Turnpike service stations provide a shelter during severe weather

TOPEKA, Kansas (KSNT) — When at home or traveling on the road, sometimes severe weather does hit.

Often times you have to think quickly. Do you keep driving or pull over and look for shelter?

“I am traveling with my family, so I would feel more comfortable stopping at something that was designed to protect us while we are out on the road,” said Chris Rodriguez, Iowa traveler.

But is shelter easy to find?

The Kansas Turnpike is not just a toll road, getting drivers from one side of Kansas to the other, but it also provides a place to take emergency shelter. It’s not your average storm shelter.

“Those shelters are for employees, and for those people who are driving on the turnpike,” said Lt. Josh Kellerman, of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Built like a basement, this severe weather shelter are designed to protect motorists from blizzards, tornadoes, and thunderstorms.

Severe weather shelter signs are posted at nearly every toll stop and are designed only for those who work the toll booths or are caught in the open.

“If you can find somewhere around your house, you’re basement, we do not want you leaving your home if that tornado is getting close. Do not leave your home trying to drive somewhere,” said Kellerman.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says the last thing you want to do is hide under an over pass. They become traps for wind tunnels and flying debris.

KHP also says don’t drive into a tornado thinking you can get through it quickly, and never try to outrun one.

To see a complete list of the Kansas Turnpike severe weather shelters click this link.

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