While you should have already prepared for driving in ordinary rain more often than usual in a La Nina cycle, there's also no shortage of examples of extreme weather events in Australia, and at least one of them is always possible at any time of year and during any climate cycle.
Examples include severely damaging rain and flooding which can either obstruct or wash away sections of road.
Epic hail smashing through windscreens and roof tiles feels like it's more a case of when rather than if these days.
Extreme winds bringing down branches, trees and power lines can and do happen on their own or in conjunction with one of the aforementioned types of precipitation.
Another hazard worth looking out for and trying to avoid is bushfires, or even just planned hazard reduction burning. Either way, you do not want to be driving through the nearby smoke haze if for no other reason than poor visibility (although breathing it is quite bad for you too). You may also find some roads you were planning to use are temporarily closed.
Whereas once these biblical levels of destruction and devastation had people believing in angry deities, we now have the technology at our fingertips to receive at least a little warning of such things coming our way.
There are apps and websites that can help you be aware of each of these possibilities, and if you don't have alerts activated (possibly for reasons related to location tracking and privacy) you can at least check before your journey, just as you might check the traffic density and potential holdups.
Some insurance companies even offer SMS alerts for severe weather or hail.
For fire and traffic each state has its own platform, and for residents near borders this can cause a bit of confusion without uniformity of simple things like the symbols used to denote the same hazards.
For weather though they all work nationally and most rely on the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to supply the data. You can even just go straight to the BOM by using their app.
If you have comprehensive car insurance you will be covered for damage that you're unable to avoid, but it's still best to avoid it if possible, if for no other reason than the inconvenience.
Some events we've been seeing especially on Australia's east coast have pelted very large hail through windscreens, and once that happens the vehicle is effectively undriveable.
The epic flooding seen in South Australia cut off road and rail links to WA. They didn't merely submerge the infrastructure, they excavated sections of it completely away.
And the summer bushfires of 2019 were so big that we entirely covered New Zealand in our smoke on New Year's Day 2020 and it continued around the globe casting a haze over South America a few days later.
So what can you do?
If hail is forming the first thing is to put the vehicle under solid cover if any is available, bearing in mind that the hail may also come in on a bit of an angle.
Whatever the event, trees are to be avoided. They lose branches causing damage themselves, or just burn during a bushfire.
Don't cross floodwaters, ever. You have no idea what the current strength is like, it can be very difficult to determine the depth, and you also can't be sure the roadway isn't now damaged underneath. Each severe rain event causes millions, often tens of millions of dollars worth of damage to the roads alone and you do not want to be finding any of that damage mid-crossing.
If it's a bushfire you find yourself approaching, turn around and get away from it. Forget your intended destination and just get far away from any fire front.
If it's severe weather you find yourself caught in, you ideally want to pull over somewhere safe if possible, which means getting out of the way of anyone who doesn't decide to stop (although one time on open highway I noticed the hail storm was moving across right behind me, so since the road was nearly dry, the air clear and hardly any other vehicles were around I kept at the nominated speed and snuck out the other side, but that was a very rare set of circumstances).
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