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How to Drive Safely in the Wind

Rain and fog aren’t the only adverse weather conditions that can make driving difficult and come with additional risks. Times of heavy wind can also bring fresh challenges, which is why it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers and how to drive safely when it’s windy.

Keep an eye on the weather

Before leaving home, you should check the weather forecast to see if any adverse conditions are due during your journey. If they are, then you’ll be better prepared to deal with any potential risks.

Ensure your vehicle is fit to drive in the wind

There are several ways you can make sure your vehicle is safe to drive during heavy winds:

  • Make sure anything loose is removed or securely fastened to the vehicle
  • Check that your tyres are above the legal minimum tread depth so you have optimum traction and braking
  • Detach any trailers unless absolutely necessary
  • Secure the roof of a convertible before leaving
  • Remove any roof boxes

How does wind affect your driving?

During stormy weather, the wind is unlikely to blow consistently, and will often blow sudden, unpredictable gusts. Sudden gusts are more common on open roads, on bridges, and over hills, however it’s possible to experience them anywhere.

As a pedestrian, heavy winds can knock you off your feet. Vehicles, which have a much larger surface area, can experience similar effects.

Be aware of potential dangers during heavy wind

Heavy wind and unexpected gusts can lead to any of the following:

  • Your vehicle may be pushed into another lane or into oncoming traffic
  • Other vehicles may be pushed into your lane
  • Caravans, which have a large surface area and are light, are easily affected
  • Lorries and containers, which may be light if not fully loaded, can be blown to the side or even blown over
  • Lighter vehicles, such as bicycles and motorcycles, may unexpectedly change lanes
  • Debris may be blown into your path

How to be safe driving when it’s windy

Being prepared for heavy and unexpected gusts of wind during stormy weather can help minimise risks. Here are a few top tips to consider:

Plan ahead

If heavy winds are forecast, make sure you know your route prior to leaving. Roads that are susceptible to unpredictable wind, such as bridges or hilltop roads, may be worth avoiding. In some extreme weather conditions, there’s also the chance roads that have the potential to become dangerous will be closed.

Park away from potential hazards

When it’s windy, trees, telephone poles, old walls, fences, and other items or structures have the potential to break, collapse or fall. Try to park in a safe spot, away from anything that could damage your vehicle if it were to hit it.

Drive sensibly

Driving at higher speeds makes you more susceptible to losing control during strong gusts of wind. Not only will wind get beneath your vehicle, making it harder to brake and handle, but higher speeds limit your response time and your ability to regain control.

Drive slower and more sensibly during high winds, especially on motorways and bridges.

Take care when overtaking

Be mindful when overtaking. Not only are you likely to be travelling at speed, but you may be passing larger vehicles such as lorries, which can act as a temporary break from the wind.

Lorries are also highly affected by heavy wind, so be mindful that they can unexpectedly cross lanes. In exceptional circumstances, lorries have been known to tip or jackknife during extremely windy conditions.

Be wary of your surroundings

If it’s windy and you find yourself sheltered by buildings or trees, be wary of breaks in these wind barriers, as leaving their protection may surprise you with a sudden gust of wind. 

Hold your steering wheel straight

We all develop bad habits when driving, such as holding the steering wheel at the bottom, and not in the recommended ten and two position. However, during windy conditions, it’s especially important to hold the steering wheel straight and firm, giving you the best chance possible to control the vehicle should it be pushed by strong winds.

Increase distance between yourself and other road users

In order to compensate for road users who are more susceptible to high winds, such as cyclists and lorries, give them more room in case they’re pushed into your path.

Need new tyres?

Make sure your tyres aren’t approaching the legal minimum tread depth as this will make controlling your vehicle in bad weather even trickier. To buy replacement tyres online in a flash, just enter your reg into our quick and easy online tool.

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