Run (drive) for cover! Protecting your car in hailstorms

The best advice anyone can give you, is to simply stay off the roads during a hail storm…

Summer has begun and for some parts of the country, warnings of hailstorms have already been issued.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says hail storms present quite a challenge for drivers as well. “The best advice anyone can give you, is to simply stay off the roads during a hail storm. This, however, is not always possible if you’re already on the road when a storm descends. There are certain steps you can take to protect both yourself and minimise damage to your car in these instances,” advises Herbert.

What to do if you drive through a hailstorm:

  • Follow weather alerts, listen to the radio and listen to hail alerts issued by insurance companies before driving.
  • If a storm is imminent, avoid driving through it if you can.
  • If you are already on the road, find a safe covered area to wait until the storm passes. This can be a garage or undercover parking.
  • A tree will never provide adequate protection and it, along with items like power lines,can even cause more damage if it falls.
  • If you continue driving, you increase the force with which the hail hits your car.
  • Never get out of your vehicle. If the hail is large enough it can cause serious injury, possibly even a fatality.
  • If you are on the highway, try exiting it before the hail gets too bad. If you are forced to stop, the highway is very dangerous place to do so.
  • Use your discretion when using emergency lights. Theoretically, emergency lights are there to indicate a stationary car. If you use emergency lights while moving, it can create confusion.
  • If, however, visibility is reduced to such a degree that you cannot see beyond a few feet in front of you, emergency lights are a necessity.
  • Do not stop under bridges on a highway.
  • Avoid stopping near low lying areas which can be affected by quickly rising water.
  • Until you find a safe spot to wait the storm out, employ the same measures you would during a rain storm.
  • Slow down.
  • Increase following distances by three times the normal amount.
  • Switch on your headlights – daytime running lights are not sufficient or adequate.
  • If your windscreen is damaged in a storm, do not (unless absolutely necessary) attempt to drive with it like that, rather call for assistance.
  • Check the rest of your car for damage that could make driving further dangerous, before starting again.