No, you can’t stop your car in the middle of the road during a hailstorm

Rows of car and trucks stuck in traffic during a hailstorm on.
Chandra Thomas Whitfield/CPR News
Eastbound traffic was brought to a standstill on I-70 in Denver during a hailstorm on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

During Thursday night’s hailstorm in metro Denver, drivers on I-70 stopped under bridges to protect their vehicles from what can be very expensive damage. (Hail is Colorado’s costliest natural disaster.)

But many of these drivers didn’t pull over and stopped in the lane.

While understandable, given the headaches of hail claims and repairs, this behavior is a no-no.

“It is against the law to be in the traveling lane, completely stopped like that,” State Trooper Gabriel Moltrer told Colorado Matters. “If law enforcement is in the area and they do observe this, you can expect to receive a citation.”

Moltrer cited the potential to cause crashes as the primary reason to keep moving.

While pulling onto the shoulder is safer, it is also risky in inclement weather, Moltrer said. 

“You do have that increased chance of a different vehicle losing control,” he said, adding that the shoulder is intended for emergencies and breakdowns.

Colorado Matters Host Chandra Thomas Whitfield, whose photos accompany this story, was aghast at what she saw on I-70 Thursday evening. 

“We got stuck about four times because cars stopped and refused to move from under overpasses. It was unbelievable,” she said.  

It also means the exposed vehicles took a greater beating as they were thwarted from moving to a safer location.

Other tips for driving in hail

Caught in a hailstorm on the road? Here are some key things to keep in mind, per AAA.

  • Find a safe place to stop your car, like a parking garage or under an overpass (without stopping traffic)
  • If no shelter is available, pull off the road as soon as possible and stop
  • Move away from your car's windows
  • Protect your head!