|Cars blocking a highway beneath an overpass during a|
hailstorm. Don't do this, despite what Progressive says
Friday, April 28, 2017
Progressive Insurance's Hail Advice Is Dangerous
Like most competent insurance companies, Progressive sends out "what to do" press releases informing consumers what to do if, say, they've had a house fire, a car accident or what have you.
Recently, Progressive put out a statement on what to do if you encounter a hail storm when driving.
One of their suggestions was downright dangerous. They said, "Stop under an overpass, and don't forget to pull out of traffic lanes and onto a shoulder Avoid ditches due to possible high rising water. "
The parts about avoiding ditches is great. Pulling over to the shoulder is good, too
Here's the problem: Very commonly, a bunch of people stop under an overpass during hail. Even if people are somewhat pulled over, oncoming cars can encounter the building traffic jam at the overpass.
Visibility is poor during severe thunderstorms. The rain and the hail make the roads slippery. The hail sure is distracting when you're driving. Stopping under overpasses is a great way to cause a very messy pileup.
Stopping beneath overpasses is very dangerous in another respect: Sometimes, a tornado is attached to the supercell thunderstorm producing the hail.
Typically, the hail core of a tornadic thunderstorm passes over an area first. Then the tornado follows. People under the overpass are sitting ducks for the oncoming tornado. Plus, tornadic winds funnel through the overpass, making the wind even stronger and more dangerous.
And by stopping beneath the overpass, you've blocked traffic behind you on the highway, and now all those motorists can't get out of the way from the approaching tornado.
If it is hailing badly, it's probably best to pull over while driving, onto a shoulder and outside of traffic. But please don't gum up the overpasses and block traffic.
You might be killing people in an effort to prevent your car from getting dinged. Is it worth it?