Hail alley is made up of the Front Range, which consists of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado. Every year between mid-April and mid-September, hail season hits. During this period, car owners need to ensure that they are doing all that they can to keep their vehicles and themselves safe. When hail does start to fall, the hailstones can vary in size, from pea-sized pellets to the size of a golf ball.
In some cases, even grapefruit-sized hail can hit your car! However, there are some simple ways to ensure that your car is more protected during hail season so that you are not left with a car that is so damaged that it is unsafe to drive.
Your car needs to be ready to face the extreme weather, so make sure that you do any repairs as needed. Check that your car battery holds a full charge and that all of your doors are well sealed.
If you have any existing damage caused by hail from last season, then make sure that this is fixed too. Check your car with an automotive hail damage repair specialist because another round of hail damage can take a very fixable car to “unfixable” condition and cost you thousands of dollars. Any existing hail damage will only be made worse if you get caught out in hail again.
Protection When Parked
Whether a hailstorm hits overnight when your car is parked at your home, or when it hits in the day when you are at work, the goal is to make sure that your car is protected. Having some form of cover is vital and there is a range of different types to consider.
Ideally, you want to park your car in a solid structure such as your garage or in a covered car park. If you do not have access to one of these but you have the resources and the skills, even a handmade wooden shelter can be very useful.
If none of the solutions are possible, then look at investing in a car cover that is specifically designed to protect against hail. If none of these are within your budget, then place a few cardboard layers or household items over your car and then cover them with a waterproof tarp. Secure in place with clips (not stones or bricks).
Safety While Driving
Ideally, you should avoid driving your car when there is a hailstorm. Make sure that you have some kind of weather alert set up so that you know when to expect hail and you can avoid getting behind the wheel.
However, even the best planning in the world can still leave you caught out in a hailstorm, miles from home. Your first step is going to be to find cover. This can be beneath a bridge or parking up in a covered car park. Even coming to a stop beneath a freeway will offer you a good level of protection.
If there is no cover available, then you need to find a large building. Drive around it and look for the side that is most protected from the direction that the hail is coming from. While this is not the ideal solution, it will offer some protection against the elements and can save you from more serious car damage.
Warning: Ideally, you should avoid parking beneath an overpass during hail. If it is your only option then it may be unavoidable, but it does come with risks. When cold hail comes into contact with the hot ground, a phenomenon known as hail fog occurs. The more cars that have sought refuge beneath the overpass, the worse the hail fog can get thanks to the exhaust fumes. Vision is massively reduced with hail fog, so if you can find a safer cover option then do so.
After the Storm
When it is safe to go back outside again, take the time to check your car for damage. If there are dents or window damage, then take photos and contact an auto hail damage repair expert. Some of the specialized repair shops will file insurance claims for you, cover your deductibles, and take care of the repair.
You can also contact your insurance directly, but since COVID 19, most of the inspections have been done virtually or from photos. Without the knowledge and proper tools to show all the damage in your photos, you may get a check smaller than what you need to repair everything.
Living in Hail Alley does not mean that your life has to be ruled by the weather. Hail season can be dramatic, but some simple precautions before, during, and after can reduce the impact that it has. Stay safe, remain aware of when to expect the heaviest storms, and you and your car will be much less likely to suffer from any harm.