When you’re in the comfort of your own home, watching a hail storm isn’t all that threatening. In fact, sit back with a cup of cocoa next to a fire and enjoy the sounds. When you’re in a car, however, the experience is quite different. Suddenly giant, baseball sized pieces of ice raining down onto your car while driving isn’t such a pleasant experience. After all who wants to get caught up in a cage made out of glass in a hailstorm, especially when hail can grow to 8-inches in diameter, the size of a bowling ball? It’s never a good idea to drive in a hailstorm, so if you have the option then don’t take it. However sometimes you can’t help but already be driving when it happens, and for that circumstance, you need to be prepared.
As we’ve already covered, hail can get monstrous and can cause severe injury. So what you need to do, if you’re driving in the middle of a hailstorm, is stop immediately but safely, under some kind of protection like an overpass or roof of some kind, and wait for it to blow over. Aim your car directly against the direction of the hail, and never with the sides of the car exposed as windshields are built to handle impact where side windows are not. Stay inside the vehicle and protect yourself from the glass.
Hailstorms are known for causing a lot of damage to cars. Even smaller-sized hail can be detrimental and leave hundreds of tiny dents all over your car, and could still crack the glass. After the hailstorm, if you failed to park in a safe covered place, you could be facing thousands of dollars worth of damage. As long as you have comprehensive coverage under your insurance policy, the insurance company will pay for the damages. However, if you don’t have that coverage and live in a hail-heavy area, you may want to take preventative measures, aside from upgrading your insurance.
If you live in a hail-happy environment, you can invest in a special car cover designed to protect your car from hailstorms. Otherwise, if you’re caught by surprise somehow, using towels, your car’s floor mats or anything else you can layer up on top of the car is a known method for helping to prevent hail damage. The more layers you have the better, as the idea is to cushion your car for impact.
The best prevention is insurance, but sometimes for whatever reasons you may have it’s not always possible, financially or through your insurance company. Be aware that some insurance companies will hold off on certain coverages if an imminent storm of some kind has been predicted. In which case, you are too late and won’t be able to have hail damage covered. So if you’re in a hazardous area, call your insurance company and try to get it covered.
To be realistic, hail isn’t the worst thing to happen to your car. The car could catch fire or explode, which let’s face it, is much worse than a few dents in your hood. But auto glass can be an expensive fix so if you don’t care about the condition of your body panels, which is understandable, try and care about the glass, if not for your safety then to avoid getting ticketed.
Avid Formula 1 fan and motorcyclist, I enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and long rides to the beach.