BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana’s summertime showers can vary in intensity.
Forgetting to watch the weather forecast on a sunny summer morning may very well lead to getting caught in a storm later that afternoon.
So, what can a person do if they find themselves on the road in the middle of a sudden hailstorm?
According to Drive Safely, the following measures may be helpful:
1. Get off of the Road
First of all, once you see hail start to rain down from the sky, you need to get off of the road. Whether you pull over onto the shoulder or use a nearby shelter like a garage or gas station awning, this should be your priority. The main reason for getting off the road right away is that the rate of impact of hailstones increases the faster you are driving. You’ll help prevent additional damage to your car by pulling over. Just avoid stopping under a bridge or overpass, since you can cause a traffic jam.
2. Don’t Get Out of Your Car
If you get out of your car during a hail storm, you’re asking for a potential injury to occur. While it may seem safe to be out when the hailstones are tiny, they can quickly gain mass. If a large hailstone hits you in the right place, it can cause significant bodily injury or even death in extreme cases. In some cases, hail gets larger than a grapefruit — you definitely don’t want to get hit by something like that!
3. Keep Yourself Safe from Broken Glass
When you are waiting out a hail storm in your car, you don’t want to be sitting in your front seat taking in the show. Hailstones have the potential to shatter your windows if they get large enough. Either lay down in the back seat or on the floor. If you have a child with you, make sure they are underneath you for extra protection.
Use a blanket, which you should have in your emergency kit, to keep your head, neck, back, and any other sensitive areas safe from broken glass. If you don’t have a blanket, try using anything from spare clothing to boxes to cover yourself.
4. Assess the Damage
When you don’t hear the sound of hail for a few minutes, the storm has likely ended. Uncover yourself and see if any damage has occurred to your vehicle. If everything is fine, you can get back on the road — otherwise, you may need to call a tow truck if you have broken windows.
It’s critical to be prepared for potentially poor weather conditions.
One way to prepare is to download BRProud’s weather app and stay in the know. This can reduce the likelihood of getting caught on the road in an unexpected storm.