Any auto body or insurance people with knowledge on the size of hail it takes to start causing damage to cars or trucks?
I ask because I always thought it needed to be 1.0-1.25, or nearing golf ball size (1.68) to start causing damage. Yesterday around the east mix master in Des Moines, a storm came through and dropped pea size hail on the 35/80. People were literally just stopping, and trying to cram their cars (ok, mostly SUV's) under the overpasses. To me, this seemed like a huge over reaction, and a very dangerous precaution. Even had the hail been larger, I guess I would rather have a few hail dings than an 18 wheeler through my back seat......
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You are correct, it needs to be at least an inch (usually a bit larger) before hail would start denting your vehicle. It is VERY dangerous when people take shelter under bridges and overpasses on roadways. Too many people try to do it any they you create a traffic jam, which is extremely dangerous anyways, and then add in heavy rain/low visibility and it's a disaster waiting to happen.
In a related topic, many people still think that taking shelter from a tornado underneath an overpass is a good thing. NO IT'S NOT. For the same reason, and another one. You will create a deadly traffic jam. And most overpasses offer little protection from strong winds. You are increasing your elevation and putting yourself into a wind tunnel. Most overpasses do not have girders to brace yourself with, as seen in some famous videos. Most are smooth with no place to hide, and you can easily be swept away.
There are two better options, IMO. The first is to make a judgement of the tornado's location, speed, and direction. Most of the time you should be able to outrun a tornado with your vehicle, as long as have a decent idea about where it is going. The last resort option is to leave your vehicle and take shelter in a low spot away from the roadway and other possible debris. Lay flat and protect your head. This is last resort, because it is very possible that low lying areas may be flooded, which is very dangerous as well. Stay out of water and lay flat on the ground.
Sorry for the long post, but if just one person learned anything from this, I've performed my good deed for the day.
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