Road travel has many inherent risks, and one of the most frightening is when hail starts falling while you’re driving. Ice chunks as small as marbles and potentially golf ball-sized or larger begin to cover the road and your vehicle as hail tumbles from the sky. Like all emergency situations, your risk is minimized if you know the best way to respond. To better ensure the safety of yourself and any passengers that may be in your vehicle, read on for information about hail and tips regarding what to do if hail starts falling as you’re driving.
What is Hail?
Hail is precipitation in the form of a pellet or chunk of ice that falls from cumulonimbus clouds during a storm. No other kind of adverse weather condition is as costly as hail. In the U.S. alone, the damage hail causes to homes, rooftops, and crops costs billions of dollars each year. In a recent six-year period in the U.S., an average of 3.2 per 1,000 vehicles filed insurance claims for hail damage annually.
Meteorologists have confessed that it is difficult to forecast hail because characteristics of the storms that do produce hailstones are the same as storms that do not. A bit of good news is that scientists discovered in recent years that hailstorms of the deadly variety can usually be predicted weeks in advance of their occurrence. It is generally always a good idea to check the weather forecasts along your route before road travel.
What to Do When Driving as it Starts Hailing
Driving in hail is not only difficult but also dangerous. Hailstones can break the glass and dent the metal on your car, potentially causing injury to vehicle occupants. The following are actions to take and warnings to heed if you are driving when hail begins falling from the sky.
- Immediately reduce your speed, turn on the low beams of your vehicle, and keep a distance from all vehicles around you on the road. Other drivers who may not know what to do in the situation could drive erratically.
- Make it your immediate goal to safely get off of the road. The impact of hail is greater when it strikes a moving object.
- Until you are able to exit the road and safely position your vehicle away from traffic, allow at least three times the usual distance from the vehicle ahead of you to avoid a rear-end collision.
- If possible, park where your vehicle is sheltered from the falling hail. For example, park under an overpass, under the canopy of a gas station, or in a parking garage.
- If you have no other
option except to pull onto the shoulder of the road, make sure of the
- Your vehicle is completely out of the traffic lanes and off of the roadway.
- Angle your automobile so that the hail strikes your windshield as opposed to the side or back windows, which are easier to break. Windshield glass is made to better withstand the impact of hail and wind.
- Stay inside your vehicle because the hail that can break glass can also cause bodily injury. If possible, vehicle occupants should lie down with faces directed away from windows. It’s helpful to cover yourself with a blanket or coat for protection from possible flying glass.
What to Do about Hail Damage on Your Car
Visit your trusted auto body repair experts about the dimpling, cracks, and window breakage caused by hailstones. Experienced auto body professionals can provide paint-less dent repair, windshield repair or replacement, and any other type of repair you may need. In Maplewood MO and the entire St. Louis area, Shur-Way Auto Body is the place to go. Call 314-645-5540 to schedule an appointment. Our shop is located in Maplewood at 3540 Greenwood Blvd.