It’s hail season in many of SA’s provinces, and these little (or sometimes, big) balls of ice cause millions of rands’ worth of destruction in South Africa every year.
In the last week, Bloemfontein has seen hail storms resulting in knee depth hail and debris causing massive damage and traffic.
The frequency of hail storms is closely related to height above sea level, and hail storms are often associated with thunder storms typical in high-lying summer rainfall areas.
Statistics show the highest frequency (approximately five hail storms per year) in South Africa in the Highveld/Bushveld areas.
Hail stones come in different sizes, and according to The SA Weather Observer blog, the largest hail stones recorded in South African history occurred in Mafikeng in December of 1915. Hail stones were recorded at a whopping 7.6cm in diameter, punching holes through galvanised iron roofs.
These days it’s not uncommon to hear of hail stones the size of golf balls, and motor body repairers have their hands full with hail damage at certain times of the year.
While it’s best to avoid driving during hail storms, the reality is that you may find your vehicle being pelted by hail while commuting or while parked outside.
- It remains your responsibility to adjust to drive in all road and weather conditions, including heavy rain and hail storms. Slow down – don’t try to speed through it – and avoid braking sharply.
- As a precaution, ensure that your windscreen doesn’t have any chips or cracks that could result in more damage when hit by hail.
- Driving towards hail compounds the impact of hailstones with your vehicle. Therefore, find a suitable place to pull over (e.g. a car park, under a bridge or at a petrol station) and remain in your vehicle. Be vigilant though, and switch on your hazard lights.
- If your vehicle is parked and you’re expecting a hail storm, try to cover your car with thick blankets to minimise the impact. It may be a good idea to always keep some blankets in the boot of your car so that you can cover your car in case of an emergency.
- If it also rains, avoid ditches as water levels may rise.
Are you covered?
Check the details of your current insurance policy to ensure that you have adequate hail cover.
Your vehicle is hail-damaged, now what?
If your vehicle has been damaged in a hail storm, be sure to approach a reputable panel beater and/or spray painter.
SAMBRA represents over 900 structural and non-structural motor body repairers in SA who can offer you quality repairs and peace of mind.
Use our interactive map to find a panel shop near you.