Driving safely in high winds isn’t a topic often discussed amongst the motoring world. However it causes some serious dangers and car owners should always be aware of the risks it can create.
The wind will never blow at a steady rate. In fact it’s likely to rise and fall in high velocity, known as ‘gusts’, which can catch out even the most experienced drivers. Gusts of winds are most likely to occur on open stretches of road, alongside large vehicles or on wide open bridges.
At Cars From Kent we recommend only dirivng if it’s absolutely essential in any type of extreme weather, including wind, rain, snow and fog.
The main problems that driving in the wind can cause are categorised into three main groups:
This is fairly obvious and all car drivers should be aware of this danger. Trees and their branches often fall into the road and cause extreme danger to all vehicles present. Naturally country roads pose the biggest threat as more trees are situated close by. Keep your speed to a minimum and be wary if you see twigs or small branches in the road, this could indicate something much larger has fallen close by.
On that note also keep a close eye on low hanging branches. These can be very difficult to spot, especially if it’s raining or indeed at night. Hitting a heavy hanging branch will cause substantial damage to your car.
Blown off Course:
In high winds always keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel. You’d be surprised how easily a car is blown off course and think about where you could end up! The wind speed can increase without warning and easily push you into the path of another vehicle.
Be aware that wind speeds will vary dramatically when passing lorries or high-sided vans, or when overtaking other cars. The key to staying safe is reducing your speed. The faster you travel the further you’ll be blown off course and in turn, the harder you’ll hit another vehicle or object if the worst case scenario occurs.
If you have to drive, keep extra distance from all other vehicles on the road. Caravans, lorries and high-sided vans are most likely to be blown from their original line. It sounds obvious, but give vulnerable road users extra space too, such as cyclists and motorcycle riders. If you’re in the countryside, remember that horse riders are never far away.
In the event of a breakdown, especially on motorways or busy A roads, keep well away from your car until help arrives. Other road users, especially in larger vehicles can be blown into your car and cause serious damage and personal injury.
If you HAVE to drive:
As in any risky driving conditions, always keep a fully charged mobile phone on your person. In addition to this, carry warm dry clothing and high visibility jackets in case of a breakdown. Always plan your journey carefully in advance and check the news for road closures and announcements. High winds often lead to blocked roads and closed roads due to debris. Pay extra attention to those around you, keeping extra distance and observing any temporary speed limits that are in force.