Have you ever been curious about the way hail is formed? Hail formation requires the perfect environment of strong, upward sweeping motions or currents of air. Each time the hail formation is swept up through the clouds, another layer or concentric ring is added to it. This happens over and over again until the formation is heavier than the wind is strong and it falls to the earth. Through your car window or into your big head that should have listened to and obeyed the warning signs in the first place. If you cut a piece of hail in half, it would have concentric rings that show how many times it was swept up. I find that fascinating. Another thing that I find interesting is that hail is usually described as the size of a sports ball, while tumors are usually described as the size of a breakfast fruit…just an observation. Perhaps the weather man (or meteorologist as he likes to be called at cocktail parties) wanted to cover sports but was passed up. The job of being the weather man is the only career I can think of where you can almost always be wrong in your predictions and still have a job, after all.
Here are a few tips regarding what to do in a hail storm and general driving in bad weather of any kind.
- Keep your radio tuned in to a weather channel.
- Be sure to use your headlights. Most states require you use them in rain anyway.
- Slow down. Call your boss or whomever you are trying to impress and tell them you are going to be delayed by weather. Tell them how hard you will be to replace.
- Allow extra breaking distance between you and the car ahead of you (use a 6 second rule for wet weather or a 9 second rule for icy weather).
- Move your car to a covered area and sit there until the weather alert has ended. A parking garage would be ideal as hail tends to bounce back up after hitting the ground at such a high speed and may bounce into your direction.
- If you stop, keep your seat belt on and put on your hazard lights. If pulling over to the shoulder of a freeway, put your signal light on instead, as if you are planning to re-enter the freeway.
- Whatever you do, if you stop under an overpass, pull onto the shoulder, do not stop in the traffic lane. Otherwise, people will think that you have already been hit in the head by the hail.
- Be extra careful in intersections for people who may not be able to stop.
- Be careful stopping or driving near power lines that may be weighed down with ice.
If you practice these recommendations when driving in bad weather, you’ll make it safer for you and everyone around you. And remember, if there is the slightest warning of approaching hail or any other kind of inclement weather, don’t drive unless it is absolutely necessary.
Until next week…keep your car and your head wrinkle-free.
Driving In Bad Weather – Comedy Defensive Driving