Melbournians are no strangers to wild storms which can hit us anytime throughout the year. After all, we are famous for having four seasons in one day. We are used to shedding layers throughout today as the weather changes, and putting them back on as the cold creeps back in. but Melbourne’s finicky weather doesn’t just affect our clothing and general sanity, it also affects our cars. Especially our windscreen and autoglass. Today the team at Emergency Windscreens is going to tell you what to do about storms and windscreen damage.
What Damage Can a Storm Do to Your Windscreen?
No matter what time of year, sudden storms can strike and do tremendous damage to your car. Below, our team will discuss the most common examples of storm damage we see from our customers. We will also discuss how to avoid storms and windscreen damage.
Hail Storms and Windscreen Damage
While a sudden, heavy downpour can present a hazard when driving, it is nothing compared to a hail storm. Any time there is a hail storm and your car isn’t under cover, there is a risk of damage to your car body, windscreen, and autoglass. And the hail doesn’t need to be the size of golf balls to cause damage. A chip from a hailstone could quickly turn into a crack if struck by more hailstones during the storm. And while storms are more likely during winter, sudden temperature and pressure changes can cause hail even in summer.
If you get caught driving in the hail the best thing you can do is try to pull over undercover. This could be a petrol station, an undercover parking lot, or even under a bridge, if safe. Avoid using trees for shelter because, if the storm is severe enough, your car could be damaged by falling branches. If there is no cover, slow down as much as you can and try to pull over to the side of the road. A moving car will suffer more damage than a stationery one. If you can’t pull over, drive as slowly and safely as possible, with your headlights on.
If a storm starts and you are at home, try to ensure your car is undercover. Do you have a garage or carport? Ensure your car is parked inside and undercover. If you don’t have an undercover area for your car, a car cover is the next best thing. This can at least keep your car protected from the worst of the storm. At the worst, you can cover your windscreen with towels or bedsheets to try to protect the glass from hail damage.
Rapid Temperature Changes
Melbourne is known to seesaw rapidly between temperatures in the teens to temperatures in the 30s. This is because our temperate positioning is positioned between the tropics and the arctic zone. Wind direction and speed can change the temperature drastically from one hour to the next. So what does this mean for your car? Autoglass expands when warm and contracts when cold. Over time, extreme temperature changes can cause cracks to form.
Further, during a storm, the dropping temperature outside can battle with the warmer temperature inside your car. The contrast between these temperatures can actually cause your windscreen to become brittle or chip or even crack. If your windscreen already has a chip, cold conditions caused by a storm can increase the chance of a crack by 60%. It is important to never try to defrost your windscreen with hot water or crank your heater up immediately on entering your car. Protect your windscreen by slowly raising the temperature inside, instead. Cracks and chips caused by weather changes require immediate fixes.
Heavy Wind Storms and Windscreen Damage
Melbourne storms often come with heavy winds that can be dangerous and unpredictable. A strong enough wind could even shake your windscreen heavily and cause cracks or chips across the surface. You also run the risk of branches and debris being blown into your car and windscreen. If you find yourself trapped in a heavy storm with strong winds, try to pull off the road and park somewhere protected from the wind, like an undercover carpark or even under a bridge, if you can safely pull over. Stay well away from trees as they are most likely to drop branches and debris that can damage your autoglass and put you in danger.
If you can’t pull over or get under cover, drive slowly and keep a wary eye out for debris around you and other cars.
When a storm hits, your safety on the road can dramatically decrease. Especially heavy storms can reduce your visibility while rain and hail can cause your car to slip on the road. While you might not cause or be involved in a crash, or end up in any dangerous situations, erratic storm driving can still cause windscreen chips and cracks. Reduced visibility may mean you miss a pothole you normally avoid or you bump into an obstacle or another vehicle. Driving fast in storms can cause more hail damage to your car than driving slowly and safely.
As a result, we always recommend you drive slowly and safely in a storm and, when you can, pull over to the side of the road or into a protected area to wait out the worst of the storm.
What to Do After a Storm
After the storm, you should still try to get your car under shelter if you haven’t already. This is because storms can appear to double back and you can get caught up in hail or wind again. And even if the skies do clear, you need to check if your car has been damaged.
Hail damage to autoglass can be quite small and hard to notice. Carefully check your windscreen and rear windows for cracks and chips. If you had any existing cracks or chips, it is important to examine them and see if they’ve gotten any bigger. If there is extensive damage to your windscreen or rear window, especially if it obscures the driver’s side vision, then you won’t be able to drive your car. In fact, you could be facing a huge fine if caught by the police. Instead, call Emergency Windscreens. Our mobile service can come to you, wherever you are, to perform repairs and replacements on your windscreen and autoglass.
We can assess the damage done to your windscreen, advise you on whether you need a simple repair or a full windscreen replacement, then perform the job so you get back on the road safely, as soon as possible.
Melbourne’s weather is crazy at the best of times. And even the most mindful and diligent drivers can fall victim to windscreen damage caused by our state’s erratic weather changes. This is why Emergency Windscreens created our mobile service, so we can help drivers throughout Melbourne get back on the road, no matter where they are, today.
If you need a windscreen repair or replacement, contact the team today!