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Tips for driving in a hailstorm     

When it comes to cinematic action and pulse-pounding drama on the big screen, you don’t see many movies about hailstorms.

Volcanoes? Sure. Tornadoes? You bet. Sharknadoes? Amazingly, yes. But when was the last time you heard a booming movie trailer voice proclaim, “This summer, get ready to pull over on the side of the road for a few minutes until the hailstorm passes!”

All kidding aside, hailstorms can get pretty brutal and cause billions of dollars in property and crop damage each year. It may not make solid material for the next big action thriller, but you sure wouldn’t want to be caught on the road as softball-sized chunks of hail start raining down on your car.

Should that happen, however, here are a handful of tips on what to do to make a hailstorm as safe as possible when you are on the road.

Stay in your car

Let’s just state the obvious right now. If your car is getting pummeled and smashed by enormous pieces of ice falling from the sky, stay in your vehicle. While it may be painful to watch the exterior of your car begin to resemble a golf ball with all of the dents caused by the hail, it sure beats getting injured yourself.

Stop and pull over

If you find yourself caught driving in a hailstorm, it may be your first instinct to just keep going in the hopes of getting through it as quickly as possible. In actuality, the smartest thing to do is stop the car and pull over, preferably under cover.

But even if there is no shelter immediately nearby, stopping the car is still the way to go. For starters, the more ice that accumulates on the road, the more slippery it will become, making for more dangerous driving conditions. Also, the impact speed with which the hail hits your car is greater when the car is moving, which can cause even more damage to your vehicle.

Face the storm

Your windshield is designed to protect you. It may shatter, but it’s made with reinforced glass that is designed to handle objects hitting them at high speeds without completely breaking. That’s why if you should always make sure your car is pointed toward the oncoming storm, ensuring that the hail hits the windshield rather than the more easily breakable side and rear windows.

Stay low and protect yourself

Worst case scenario: you’re caught in a hailstorm and you’re parked on the side of the road, but the violent impact of the storm has broken through the glass, and ice and rain are pouring into your car at a frightening speed. In this situation, it’s important not to panic and simply move as far away from the windows as possible.

If you can, lie down with your back facing the windows and your head covered. Reclining your seat or sitting on the floor with your face covered may also help keep personal injury to a minimum. Remember, most hailstorms typically only last between five and 10 minutes, but the damage they can cause in a short amount of time can still be quite extensive. Cars can always be repaired, but keeping yourself and your loved ones safe is most important.