A little bit ago, we talked about ways to protect your car during a hailstorm, including what to do before, during, and after a storm. Today, we wanted to take a couple of minutes to share some pointers on how to keep people and pets safe during extreme hail. At Hail Depot, we pride ourselves in knowledgeable, speedy, and affordable hail damage repair for all kinds of auto hail damage and hail dent removal. We also pride ourselves in outstanding customer service, and we care about your safety during hail storms.
A Look At Hail Damage Statistics
According to the National Weather Service, hail is one of the most expensive natural hazards in terms of property damage. In 2015, hail was the second leading expense of property damage caused by natural hazards, preceded only by flash floods. During the course of 2015, hailstorms caused 586 million dollars of property damage, and thankfully, no injuries or fatalities. However, in 2016, hail storms caused a whopping 3.5 billion dollars in damage across the 50 states! That’s an average of almost 11 million dollars per US citizen in property damages alone. This, of course, includes damage to residential and commercial buildings, as well as cars and other properties. With that much property damage, it may be surprising to know that there were only 21 reported injuries caused by hail, and like 2015, no fatalities. With that said, it is still important to be prepared to protect yourself and your family during a hailstorm so you don’t end up as part of the injury statistics.
So far, 2017 is shaping up to be a “hail of a year.” Just last month, baseball-sized hail pounded the Denver, Colorado metro area, punching holes through windshields, stripping the siding off of houses, and forcing an entire shopping mall to close down for the rest of the year to repair damages. This event turned out to be the single most expensive hailstorm in recorded history, with an estimated 1.4 billion dollars in property damage and 150,000 auto insurance claims filed. When a hailstorm of unexpected severity strikes, it is important to know what to do to keep yourself and your family safe.
Here are some tips for staying safe during a hail storm:
If you are in a car:
- Stop driving as soon as possible. If you can, try to maneuver your car into a parking garage, under a freeway overpass, or under a gas station or service station awning. If you are on the highway, pull completely off to the side of the road instead of stopping in your lane, even if the hail is very severe. Other drivers may continue to attempt to drive during the storm, and can seriously injure you or themselves if you are stopped in the middle of your lane.
- Take cover. If you cannot find the cover of a permanent structure, get as far away from windows as possible. After you have pulled off of the road, cover your face and eyes with a piece of clothing or, even better, your floor mats. If you have young children in the car, cover them as well or put them underneath you. The backseat is the safest place to be during a hailstorm, as the front windshield is more likely to be shattered by incoming hail.
- Do not leave the vehicle under any circumstances, even to try to run to take cover in a nearby building. You are safer inside of the car than outside, even if the hail is heavy enough to break your windows.
If you are in a building:
- Bring all children and pets inside immediately. As soon as a hail storm is predicted, start rounding up the family and pets and make sure to do a headcount. We know it is quite an experience to watch a hailstorm from the safety of your home, especially for those who do not see them often but avoid gathering by an open door as this is an easy way for pets or curious children to run outside.
- Do not go outside until the hail stops. We know you might want to run out to try to move or protect your car, but this is a risk that is not worth taking. If there is an emergency where a child or pet are caught outside and you absolutely need to go outside to retrieve them, take extreme precaution. Move quickly and cover your head with something like a heavy bathmat or even grab a bicycle helmet.
- Stay away from windows. If you’ve ever been caught in a rainstorm that also has strong winds, you might have used the phrase, “It’s raining sideways.” That same logic applies to hail. Hail often does not fall straight down, meaning it can easily shatter or punch through a window. Keep away from any windows, and take a look up, too, to make sure you aren’t under a skylight.
If you are outside:
- Take shelter immediately: Try to get inside or under the nearest building. If you are in a residential area but not near your own home, take shelter under a covered porch or other structure.
- Protect your head: Ideally, you will be able to find something to cover your entire body. If not, find something – anything – to cover your head. Anything from a jacket to a backpack can offer a little bit of protection. Some protection is better than none at all, and your head is the most vital part to protect. If you are with young children, you can use your body to shield their heads from incoming hail.
- Sheltering under a tree is okay, but not ideal. If you absolutely have no other option, you can take shelter under a tree. Make sure to stay close to the trunk and stay alert, as trees often lose branches during hailstorms.
What To Do After A Hail Storm
Making sure that everyone is okay after a hailstorm is the most important thing. Err on the side of caution and seek medical or veterinary attention for any people or animals that may have taken a hard hit from a piece of hail. After making sure that there have been no injuries, you can assess any car hail damage and decide if you need hail damage repair. It is important at this time to know about your options for auto hail repair. At Hail Depot, we specialize in paintless hail repair, known as paintless dent removal or PDR car repair for short. This means that we use methods that won’t require you to get a new paint job to remove dents from hail damage, which can save you thousands of dollars in hair damage repair costs. If you have suffered auto hail damage and are in need of PDR repair, contact your trusted auto dent repair experts at Hail Depot today!