RED DEER, Alberta – Three people had to huddle for safety inside their car as it suffered an onslaught of grapefruit-sized hail during a thunderstorm in Alberta Monday.
Video recorded by Gibran Marquez Cedillo shows himself and two friends caught in the storm outside Red Deer as the massive hailstones shattered the windshield and side windows.
Cedillo told Storyful the ordeal lasted 17 minutes and that he and the other passengers in the vehicle, John Tezcan and Karlee Bertsch, were “fearing for [their] lives.”
Cedillo said the vehicle, which belonged to Bertsch, was a “complete write-off.”
Experts: Pull over, crouch down and ride out the hail storm
If you’re ever caught outside driving in such a storm, stop the car and pull over as this trio did. Driving compounds the hail stones’ impact with your car, according to hail safety tips from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
However, while stopping under an overpass may look enticing, safety experts say don’t stop there as you may create accidents on the highway. Also, don’t head for ditches as heavy rains from the storm may quickly cause water levels to rise.
Instead, pull well off the road and angle your car to where the windshield is facing the hail.
“Windshields are reinforced to withstand forward driving and pelting objects,” the Oklahoma DOT says. “Side windows and back glass are not, they’re easier to break.”
Your car will provide protection
Safety experts suggest lying down in your car seat and keeping your back to the windows if possible. Also, cover yourself with any available items such as a blanket, jacket or sweatshirt to keep any broken glass from hitting you.
And as frightening as it might be to stay in the car and be tempted to make a run for shelter, experts stress to stay in your car until the hail passes.
Hailstones approaching grapefruit size can fall at speeds approaching 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service. That can cause serious injury.
“Your car will provide reasonable protection,” the DOT says.
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