VIDEO: Improving Hailstorm Forecasting

Ever wish you had more advance warning whenever a severe hailstorm headed toward your area, so you could take more measures to protect both fleet drivers and their vehicles?

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, based in South Carolina, is in fact conducting a research project aimed at reducing hailstorm property damage and improving hailstorm forecast models and radar detection. The project is in collaboration with Penn State University.

But until such research leads to reliable hailstorm forecasting, fleet managers in some regions – particularly the Central Plains states – will continue to deal with occasional hailstorm damage claims. Last month, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado all experienced major hailstorms that generated plenty of business for local body shops.

There are some measures that drivers can take, though, to protect themselves and their vehicle. Here are some safety tips, provided by Union Mutual of Vermont and Progressive Insurance, you can pass along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.

When hail is larger than three-quarters of an inch in diameter, drivers are advised to:

  • Stop driving. If you can see a safe place to drive to, such as inside a garage or under a service station awning, do so as soon as you can. Make sure you pull completely off the highway, but avoid ditches due to possible high-rising water.
  • Keep your vehicle angled so the hail hits the front of the vehicle. Windshields are reinforced to withstand forward driving and pelting objects. Side windows and back glass are not, so they’re much more susceptible to breakage.
  • Stay away from vehicle windows. Cover yourself with a blanket or coat, if possible, because there may be debris. In particular, protect your eyes. See if you can get onto the floor face-down, or lay down on the seat with your back to the windows.
  • Don’t leave the vehicle until the hailing stops. Your car will furnish reasonable protection.

To learn more about the hailstorm research project, click on the photo or link under the headline. To learn more about the science behind hailstorms, you can watch the Weather Channel video below.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet