What to do when driving in hail

If you've ever been caught in a barrage of hail while driving, you know how scary it can be. But there are some simple ways to avoid injuries and damage to your car. First, slow down and pull over once you can safely do so. Pulling into a parking garage or other covered shelter is the most ideal location to wait out the storm. Don't try to leave your vehicle until the storm passes as hail can easily injure you.

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Safety tips for driving in a hailstorm

Slow down, pull over, and steer clear of vehicles

When driving in hail, make sure to pull over as soon as it's safe. Hail falls rapidly and combined with the speed of your moving vehicle, can cause more damage and the risk of an accident. Other drivers will be as caught off guard as you and will seek cover. When driving in hail in moving traffic, keep several car lengths between your car and other vehicles to avoid a potential collision.

Get under cover and stay inside your vehicle

If there's a parking garage or other protection, get to it. But avoid taking shelter under trees or other objects that could fall on your car. Hail falls at fast speeds and sometimes has sharp edges that can cause serious injury. Your best protection is your car.

Use your windshield as protection

Windshields are reinforced to withstand heavy impact. However, the other windows in your vehicle are not. Position your car so the hail hits the front of it. When parked, protect yourself by lying on the floor or reclining your seat. Position your body to shield your face from any glass that may shatter. If you have a blanket or jacket, cover yourself to prevent debris from hitting you, and keep your back to the windows.

Pro tip:

According to The Insurance Information Institute, Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas top the list for states with the most hailstorms, but they can occur anywhere, usually unexpectedly. That's why it's essential that you know what to do when driving in a hailstorm.

Never stop under an overpass or park in a low-lying area

If you are driving in a hailstorm, you may think it's a good idea to stop under an overpass, but this poses a severe safety risk. Other drivers will also be seeking refuge. And, with visibility obscured, an accident can quickly happen. With hail, there often comes heavy rain. High-rising waters could pose another threat, causing water damage to your car.

Be proactive and watch the weather

Drivers should always be prepared for the unexpected. Keep blankets in your vehicle where you can easily access them. Although Mother Nature can be unpredictable, check your local weather resources before hitting the road for updates on potential storms or driving hazards.

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