According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, thunderstorms are most likely to happen during spring and summer months during afternoons and evenings. While thunderstorms can put a damper on vacation and travel plans, lightning and strong winds are not the only factors to worry about when a major thunderstorm strikes and you’re in your vehicle.
What happens if you get caught driving in a hail storm?
The more severe the storm, the more likely that larger hail will also be produced. Hail larger than quarter size (1 inch in diameter) is considered severe, and in extreme cases, hail can also reach the size of a baseball or softball and reach estimated speeds of more than 100 mph. At those sizes and speeds, the ice from a hailstorm can do major damage to vehicles, homes, crops and more.
Hail usually also brings many other hazardous conditions that can cause harm to you and your vehicle. When you’re driving, the conditions seem worse.
What to do if you’re on the road through the heart of a hail storm:
-Stop driving: a moving car will compound the hail’s impact on your car.
-Try to seek a covering for your vehicle. Don’t park under overpasses which could block safety vehicles/cause traffic problems or trees because of falling debris, and avoid low-lying areas that could flood. Try to find an awning, car wash or other structure.
-Stay inside the vehicle. Your car offers more protection to you against the impact of the hail.
-If you can’t find a cover for your car, safely turn your vehicle so the windshield is facing the oncoming hail. Your windshield is the strongest piece of glass in your vehicle.
-Protect yourself from broken glass. Turn your back to windows and cover yourself with a blanket or your hands.
We hope everyone has safe and happy road trips this year. Your local Weather Channel forecast is helpful to take a look at before setting out on the road to be aware of larger storms that could potentially produce hail.
If you ever find yourself on the road during a thunderstorm that quickly turns to hail, remember the list above. Most important is to protect yourself, so stop driving and stay inside the vehicle as you wait for the hail storm to pass. Stay safe through all bad weather driving scenarios, including snow and ice conditions, and driving during the rainy season.