The end of 2013 has seen hail storms leave a multi-million rand trail of destruction in Gauteng, and many of the clients here at Infiltrate Media (A graphic design studio in Johannesburg) have had extreme damage done to their vehicles and paintwork. As such we compiled a list of tips to assist drivers with the fickle highveld weather:
KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER
Staying inside and keeping your car undercover during a hail storm most certainly offers the most protection against vehicle damage; and even personal injury. To reduce your risk of being caught in a storm, keep a close tab on the weather report (www.weather.24.com) and when hail is forecasted, try to ensure your car is undercover and/or delay travelling until the storm has subsided.
That said, with the often unpredictable nature of hail storms, this isn't always possible. If you are caught in a hail storm, look for cover as soon as you can. This could include a covered car park, a petrol station or under a bridge. However, take extreme care when pulling-over, put on your hazard lights, and don't risk your safety or the safety of others by trying to get to cover too quickly.
AVOID PARKING UNDER TREES
Don't park under trees as there is a danger of falling branches and possibly even the tree itself (Plus the possibility of lightning). Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.
If there is no shelter, we urge motorists to pull-over onto the side of the road (If it is safe to do so). In an unsheltered spot, hail damage is inevitable, but it is safer not to drive through a storm when the roads are slick and there is poor visibility.
Another idea is to keep a few heavy blankets in your car. This will provide you with a protective covering that you can throw over the bonnet/roof of your car to prevent hail damage.
DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR POLICY
While taking precautions to prevent being caught in a hail storm is first prize, it is also crucially important to have adequate cover against hail damage with a reputable insurance provider.
At this time of the year, the roads in South Africa are especially dangerous; and the added storms we experience don't help the cause. We urge everyone to drive as safely as they can, and consider other motorists on the road.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.