The weather can undoubtedly be quite unpredictable in Australia, where ‘storm season’ seems to occur more often than not.
Over the past few months, freak hail storms lashed over the east coast of Australia, and hailstones were found at a massive 16cm in diameter. To put this into perspective, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed these hailstones broke the national record as the largest to be observed. Throughout October of this year, these severe hail storms also produced more than 33,500 insurance claims across the South East, indicating an increase in storm frequency and severity.
While hailstorms are usually short-lived, they can appear without much or any warning and create detrimental damage. While hail varies in size from a tiny chunk of ice to the size of a golf ball, and sometimes even larger, it can do severe damage to a vehicle.
For anyone without a garage or undercover car park, this can be rather alarming. While there are many things we can do to maintain our vehicles, some things are unfortunately out of our control. We simply cannot control the weather, so what can we do to keep our vehicles intact when extreme circumstances do occur?
Avoid Driving in Hail Storms
This is often easier said than done, as driving in a storm may sometimes seem unavoidable. However, hail storms can be hazardous to both you and your vehicle, so it is essential to weigh up your safety over your need to get to your destination in this scenario.
If you can avoid driving in such extreme weather conditions, it is highly recommended. Not only can it make it difficult for you to see, but hail can damage the body of your car or, even worse, your windshield.
While windshields are built to protect us from debris, hail can cause unpredictable and severe damage to your windscreen, especially when the vehicle is in motion.
If you are aware of an incoming storm, stay put for the time being and wait it out. You may be 20 minutes later to your destination, but your vehicle and bank account will be thanking you. If it does begin to hail unexpectedly while you are already on the roads, try to quickly seek shelter and pull into an underground car park to wait out the storm. You must remain as calm as possible in these situations, as your safety is much more valuable than the state of your vehicle.
Invest in a Car Cover
Specifically designed to cover and protect your vehicle from the impact of debris such as hail, investing in a car cover is a no brainer.
While a cover is not guaranteed to protect your vehicle from 100% of the impact from hail damage, it can certainly help. The different types of cover you purchase will influence its protection. Thicker or padded options will provide your vehicle with an extra outer layer of protection against debris and more giant hailstones.
The NRMA Insurance Research Centre recently investigated hail covers to discover how they can be used to their potential. They found that, first and foremost, the fit is important. For a hail cover to work efficiently, be sure to measure your vehicle dimensions and purchase a cover that matches its size. Hail covers are meant to be tailored with additional straps, clips, and measures to ensure it remains in place.
Their research also indicates the benefit of practising putting a hail cover on. Familiarising yourself with the cover and its application can help you do it more efficiently when time is of the essence during a hailstorm.
When purchasing a cover, it is also important to consider storage capacity. These covers can be rather bulky, especially when folded up, so ensure you know the space they may take up.
Ultimately, car covers are great solutions to protecting your vehicle from weather damage. If you are generally parked outdoors and for an extended period, choosing a cover option made of waterproof and breathable materials can provide you with peace of mind.
If the weather is looking rather gloomy, and the weather forecast indicates a potential storm, consider parking your vehicle undercover for the day.
If you’re heading to work where there are no immediate undercover parking options and you are concerned about potential hail, perhaps opt for public transport or splurge the extra $5 for paid undercover parking.
Keeping your car parked at home may not be a safe option for your vehicle during a hailstorm if you don’t have a garage or a carport. If this is the case, consider calling a friend who may have a spare undercover car space you can store your vehicle in. Alternatively, head to a shopping centre for a duration of the storm, car parks here are often, if not always, undercover and secure.
Knowing your closest undercover areas before the event of a storm can help you prepare for the situation when it does arise quickly and abruptly.
Sign up for Early Warning Alerts
Keeping up with the weather conditions is rather useful no matter the severity, but particularly so in the case of storms.
Downloading a weather app such as the Bureau of Meteorology weather app or subscribing to weather alerts can ensure you are aware of any incoming storms or potential for hail.
Keep Your Surroundings Clear
If you have no option but to leave your car parked outdoors during the event of a hailstorm, a car cover can only do so much.
Storms are unpredictable weather events that can wreak great havoc on any loose items, debris, or trees that have the potential to fall upon your vehicle. To prevent any damage, inspect the area where your car is parked and clean up the loose items, or move your car to an area away from hazards.
Dealing with Damage
Ultimately, if you suspect a storm is on the way, pay close attention to weather alerts and the news. While these tips will help you prepare for any oncoming weather events if it starts to hail while you’re attempting to cover or protect your vehicle, it is highly recommended you stop your process and seek shelter. Heavy hail can be very dangerous, and your safety is far more valuable than a vehicle.
While prevention is always preferred, sometimes incidents do occur. If your windshield has been damaged from the likes of a hail storm, having it immediately repaired or replaced can save you money and time in the long run. Fortunately, replacing your windscreen doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or expensive, especially if you do all you can to minimise damage in the first place.
Novus Autoglass offers full windscreen replacements within just an hour, getting you back on the road in no time. With the added benefit of a lifetime warranty, we believe in our services and ability to provide the best for your vehicle.
If your vehicle has been damaged from hail, or you are interested in more information on how to prepare for the storm season, contact Novus today. While our team of friendly professionals specialise in all things windscreen and vehicle related, we focus on prioritising you and your safety behind the wheel.