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Safety tips for driving in a hailstorm in South Africa

In certain parts of South Africa, the hail season is fast approaching. Whereas driving in a hailstorm can be stressful, and we can’t exactly control the weather, preparing yourself for this can help you prevent major damage to your car. So, here are some safety tips to keep you safe when caught on the road during a hailstorm.

The dangers of driving in a hailstorm

We share the top dangers you could come across when driving in a hailstorm.

Vehicle damage

Hailstones can be as small as pellets or as big as golf balls. However, any hail can inflict severe damage to your auto body regardless of size. They can dent the body of your car, chip the paint, and even crack or break windows.

Reduced visibility

Hailstorms significantly reduce visibility, making it difficult to see the road ahead and increasing the risk of accidents and collisions.

Slippery roads

As hail collects on the road, it can create slippery conditions, like driving on ice or snow. This makes controlling your vehicle more difficult and increases the risk of accidents.

Safety hazard

Strong winds, lightning, and heavy rainfall often go hand-in-hand with hailstorms, making it even more dangerous.

Safety tips for driving in a hailstorm

Now that we’ve established the different dangers, here’s how you can avoid them.

Slow down and pull over

Hail impacts are more forceful when hitting a moving vehicle, which increases the risk of damage and accidents. So, always turn on your high beams if it starts to hail while you’re driving. Then, reduce your speed and pull over to the side of the road as soon as it’s safe. Keep a safe distance between your car and others, and switch on your hazards once parked.

Seek cover and stay inside your vehicle

If a petrol station or other shelter is nearby, make your way there. However, avoid parking under trees or structures that can collapse onto your car. As hail falls rapidly and some hailstones have sharp edges that can cause serious injuries, your car offers the best protection.

Use your windshield as protection

Windshields can handle high impact. So, position your car so the hail mainly hits its front. You can protect yourself by lying on the floor or reclining your seat.

Keep your back to the windows to guard your face from the shattered glass of a broken window. And if you have a blanket or jacket, cover yourself with it.

Avoid stopping under overpasses or in low-lying areas

While seeking refuge under an overpass might be tempting, doing so can be extremely dangerous. This is because other drivers will also try to find shelter, and visibility will be poor.

Moreover, hailstorms can also bring heavy rain, making your car more likely to suffer water damage when parked in a low-lying area.

Stay informed and plan ahead

Being proactive and checking the weather can help you avoid hailstorms altogether. So, remember to keep an eye on the weather forecast and reroute or postpone your trip if necessary.

But to be safe, keep blankets in your car and check your tyres for sufficient tread depth for better traction and steering control in case it hails or rains.

Get insurance cover for hail damage

Taking your car to a body shop to repair hail damage can cost a lot of money. Furthermore, you might have to pay substantial out-of-pocket expenses if you don’t have the right insurance coverage.

For this reason, it’s crucial to have the right insurance coverage. Not all insurance companies include hail damage coverage in their standard policies. Therefore, reviewing your policy and considering adding it if necessary is important. Just make sure to read the fine print.

Get car insurance today

Hailstorms can be a big problem in South Africa. But if you have comprehensive coverage from Prime South Africa, we’ll professionally assess the damage and cover the repairs as per your policy and our terms and conditions.

This gives you the peace of mind you need when driving in a hailstorm, so if you don’t yet have hail cover from your car insurance, get your free online quote today.

Disclaimer

This article provides general safety tips for driving in a hailstorm in South Africa. However, following these tips does not guarantee your safety or that of your vehicle.

Remember to always buy car insurance with much thought and only through a certified financial services provider.

Contact us today to learn more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

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