Yesterday evening, our headquarters in downtown Boston was pelted with hail the size of nickels and rain heavy enough to cleanse even the dirtiest of city streets. Though it wasn’t quite tornado status, as we watched from the safety of our building, one couldn’t help but think how unfortunate it would be to get caught in something like that. And since the skies conveniently opened up right before the evening commute, it’s very likely many people did have to deal with traveling in the hailstorm.
However awe-inspiring summer storms can be, oftentimes they spring up on us unannounced and can make for a stressful (and dangerous) commute. Streets become slick, windshields blurred from rain, and when the weather is bad enough, it can feel like the number of cars on the road is three times the normal amount because there’s almost always traffic.
So for you drivers – and those of you who commute by foot, bicycle or public transit – here are some tips to help you stay as safe as possible when traveling in stormy summer conditions:
- Before you head out, check local radio stations or reliable weather websites for the latest on storm conditions in your area. If you have any concerns about the weather, play it safe and stay put. This goes for any type of travel, whether by foot or car. Weather is extremely fickle and it’s not worth the risk.
- If you do head out in your car, remember to drive SLOWLY, especially if there’s rainfall – light or heavy. Stoppage distance increases when roads are wet, so make sure to give yourself enough room when braking.
- Playing it safe is important here, too. If you’re already on the road but encounter hail, blinding rain or slippery road conditions, stop and pull over. Wait for things to clear up before continuing onward.
The quick, heavy rainfall of a summer storm can sometimes lead to flooding. So if you find yourself on the road during a flood, remember that cars are not boats and can easily be carried away by water. That said, don’t try to drive through washed out roads. Six inches of water is enough to reach the underside of most cars, causing stalling and other difficulties. Mind the barricades setup by local authorities and seek alternative routes – even if it means a longer commute.
Of course, the safest way to travel during a summer storm is not to travel at all. Accidents are more likely to occur in the bad weather, but if you absolutely need to get out on the road, remember to be alert at all times.
Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.