Most drivers in Dallas/Fort Worth don’t stop to think about inclement weather in their area. After all, natural disasters affect other people, right? And your car insurance is sure to cover the damage…right?
The truth is that DFW weather isn’t just sunshine and mild winters. Read on to learn more about the most common types of inclement weather to expect in Dallas/Fort Worth, as well as how to protect yourself and your car when bad weather hits.
What Are the Most Common Types of Inclement Weather in Dallas/Fort Worth?
DFW weather can bring all sorts of surprises, from heat waves to cold snaps. The most common types of inclement weather that Dallas/Fort Worth drivers should worry about are:
- Lightning storms
Let’s explore each type of inclement weather event in detail as well as what to do when inclement weather catches you by surprise.
Lightning Storms Can Be Brutal in Dallas, Texas
Lightning storms are one of the most common types of inclement weather you’ll experience in Dallas/Fort Worth, especially in the spring and summer. They don’t usually last very long, but lightning can cause serious damage to people and unprotected buildings. Fortunately, modern buildings have lightning rods that help redirect the energy from a lightning strike to the ground. However, driving around in a car is a different story.
You might have heard that your car is a safe place to be during a lightning storm because of the rubber tires contacting the road. This is only partly true — your car is a safe place to be, but it’s the metal body that protects you rather than the rubber tires. This means that soft-top cars like Jeeps and convertibles are actually less safe places to be during a lightning storm. If you drive a soft-top car, try to avoid coming storms.
What Should You Do When You’re Caught Driving in a Lightning Storm?
Sometimes, DFW weather is quite unpredictable, and a lightning storm can come out of nowhere. If that happens to you while you’re driving, follow these steps:
- Lightning storms often mean heavy rain, which drastically reduces your visibility and stopping distance. Pull over to a safe spot and turn on your hazard lights. The good news about lightning storms is that they often pass over quickly, so it’ll be safe to drive again in no time.
- Don’t touch anything metal in your car — stay away from door handles, phone charges, and the radio.
- If you’re driving a soft-top car or a motorcycle, seek shelter in the nearest enclosed building. Do not seek shelter under a tree.
Hailstorms Come Out of Nowhere in DFW, Texas
Severe lightning storms can also bring hailstones, which are spheres of ice that form deep inside a thunderstorm cloud. Most hailstones are harmlessly small — gravel-sized or smaller — but the most intense storms can bring hail the size of golf balls. That’s enough to smash through windshields and soft tops, not to mention knocking you unconscious.
Like lightning storms, hailstorms tend to pass quickly. But while a lightning strike is fairly rare, a hailstorm can severely damage everything in its path. This is a type of inclement weather that you want to avoid as much as possible. Stay indoors whenever there’s an incoming hailstorm. If possible, keep your car in a covered parking spot as well.
What Should You Do When You’re Caught Driving in a Hailstorm in North Texas?
Hailstorms are more damaging than lightning storms, so do whatever you can to stay off the road when you receive a hailstorm alert. If you’re caught by surprise, here’s what you should do:
- Driving will only increase the damage of hail to your car. Pull over to a safe, covered area such as a parking garage or overpass. Avoid low areas that might suddenly flood.
- If possible, position your car so that more hail impacts the windshield. Windshield glass is reinforced to withstand more impact than your other windows.
- Stay inside your car, lie down, and keep your back to the windows.
DFW is in Tornado Alley
One of the most feared inclement weather events in Dallas/Fort Worth is a tornado or twister. Tornadoes can destroy anything and anyone in their path, which is why it’s crucial to take tornado alerts seriously.
There are two kinds of tornado alerts: watches and warnings. A tornado watch means that the weather conditions in your area are the right ones for a tornado to form. Keep in mind that DFW weather is often conducive to tornadoes, especially in the summer. A tornado warning means that an actual tornado has been spotted in your area, and you should take immediate action to protect yourself and your loved ones.
What Should You Do When You’re Caught Driving During a Tornado Warning in DFW?
Seek shelter immediately. It’s unsafe to be in your car during a tornado, no matter how big your vehicle is. Find the nearest building — even if it’s a stranger’s house — and stay in a safe place away from any windows. If you absolutely cannot find a safe building, then pull over as soon as possible — never try to outrun a tornado. Keep your seatbelt on and stay crouched under the windows.
DFW Can See Impacts From Hurricanes
While Dallas/Fort Worth isn’t on the coast, it’s close enough to water that even a weakened hurricane can cause severe damage from wind, flooding, and hail. The good part about hurricanes is that they’re much easier to predict and track. While a tornado can form in a matter of minutes, people will have days of advanced notice that a hurricane is headed their way.
This means that you should never be caught driving in a hurricane. Closely follow all weather reports and alerts, including information about mandatory evacuations and evacuation routes.
Does My Car Insurance Cover Damage from Inclement Weather?
It depends. If you have only liability insurance coverage, which is the legal minimum coverage in Texas, then your insurance will only cover car repair costs and medical bills for the other driver if you’re at fault for an accident.
If you want to protect your car from DFW inclement weather, then you should have comprehensive insurance for your car, which covers damage from most types of inclement weather as well as theft and vandalism.
Find Affordable Car Insurance in DFW, Texas Today
Your car insurance can protect you and your car from the worst types of DFW weather, but only if you make sure that you have comprehensive insurance coverage. At Baja Auto Insurance, we work with Dallas/Fort Worth drivers every day to get them the insurance they need at an affordable price. All it takes is a few minutes for an online quote. Or you can visit our offices in person or give us a call at (800) 401 6870.