Tips on protecting your vehicle during a hail storm
A hail storm can do a lot of damage to the windows, metal, and paint of your car, but there are steps you can take to protect your car from damage, with the recent spring storms here in Northern IL scattering anything from pea sized to baseball sized hail it’s important to know what to do if and when a hail storm strikes. Here are some tips to help keep you safe during extreme weather.
- Get covered parking—Covered parking can save you a lot of hassle and money, especially in the middle of the country. Make sure to listen to hourly weather reports and move your car into the garage before a storm hits. Don't wait till the last minute to have a space cleared out to properly store you're car. If you don't have room in your garage or a carport, seek alternative parking.
- Ride out the storm—If you don’t have access to covered parking, try to find temporary shelter. Local malls, for example, usually have parking garages where you could park if you know a storm is brewing. If you don’t have a covered place to store your vehicle, find those options for the big storms. Use large buildings as hail shadows if you can’t find an area with covered parking. If a storm is coming from the east, for example, park on the west side of a large building. If the winds are strong enough, the building may be able to shield your car, causing hail to blow completely past it. If you do get stuck driving in hail, it's best to travel either toward or away from it. The reason is because windshields are better designed to withstand the impact of hail, whereas side windows may not be.
- Use blankets or car covers—If you don’t have a shelter option, and you know a storm is coming, get something over your car. Some companies sell car covers specific to this purpose, but you can use your own blankets as well. Just make sure you duct tape them down—the winds can pick up pretty quickly during hail storms. The tape can leave a sticky residue on your car, but most likely won’t cause any damage to the paint. (Prepare in advance for this. Opt for personal safety and don’t do this if the storm is happening within a matter of minutes.) If you’re caught someplace where you don’t have the option to cover your car this way you can use your floor mats to place over your windshield to help prevent the hail from breaking it. It’s not the best option but at least it’s something
Always stay protected during a hail storm and do not leave your vehicle unless it’s necessary as hail can cause serious bodily damage. If you’re caught in a hail storm while driving and large sized hail is hitting your car, pull over, Make sure you pull completely off the highway, and cover up with a blanket, jacket or whatever you have available in your car to use to shield yourself just in case the hail were to break any glass in your vehicle. Get onto the floor face down, or lay down on the seat with your back to the windows if possible. Put very small children under you, and cover their eyes.