(KXAN) — A storm with hail moved through Central Texas late Sunday, damaging cars and homes. If you’re driving through a hail storm like this, here’s a few tips for drivers to keep themselves, their passengers and others safe.
If you do need to drive during hail, drivers should slow down, pull over and stay clear of other vehicles, according to AAA Texas.
The average hail claim for AAA Texas was nearly $6,000 in 2021, according to spokesperson Daniel Armbruster, and hail can be more damaging to your car if you’re driving at a higher speed.
If you pull over, drivers should avoid overpasses because they can become congested with other drivers seeking relief, leading to a traffic jam or accident. Wind also becomes more dangerous underneath a bridge, Armbruster said.
“When it comes to other drivers, it’s hard to see outside if the rain is coming down, so it can be hard to see other drivers,” Armbruster said. “If you’re all trying to pull up under an overpass it just creates a dangerous situation where you could have other other potential problems aside from hail.”
Overpasses are also unsafe during tornadoes or during high winds because they act as wind tunnels and flying debris can cause injuries or deaths, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Auto repair company Gerber Collision & Glass recommends turning on your low beam lights and reducing your speed. Drivers should be aware of the vehicles around them and keep three times the usual distance from other cars.
Then, drivers should safely get off the road and to a covered shelter like a parking garage or a gas station canopy. If you need to pull over on the shoulder of the road, the car should be completely out of traffic lanes, Gerber Collision said.
Insurance company Progressive recommends positioning your car so the hail hits the front of it because the windshield is reinforced, unlike other car windows.
Drivers and passengers should also protect themselves by lying on the floor or reclining the seat and positioning their bodies to shield their faces from glass, according to Progressive. This includes keeping their backs to the windows. Blankets and jackets can also be used as protection.