How to drive safely in strong winds


How to drive safely in strong winds

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for this weekend, with strong winds expected to cause widespread disruption, particularly during Saturday daytime.

We can expect ‘some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport… with some fallen trees possible. Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges [are] likely,’ says the Met Office.

Strong winds are the most common cause of damage and disruption in the UK, so it pays to take care on the road when the conditions are at their worst.

Of course, it makes sense to stay at home or to delay your journey if a storm is forecast, but if you must drive, or if you find yourself caught up in strong winds, here are some steps you can take to stay safe on the road.

Stay safe in strong winds

  • Slow down: the faster you drive, the more difficult it becomes to maintain control in crosswinds. Take particular care if you’re driving a high-sided vehicle or towing a trailer or caravan.
  • Hold tight: keep both hands on the wheel and be prepared for sudden gusts.
  • Give cyclists and motorcyclists extra room when overtaking.
  • Be prepared for stronger winds and sudden gusts when driving in exposed areas or over bridges.
  • Keep your distance, especially from high-sided vehicles and caravans.
  • Avoid towing a trailer, caravan or horsebox if possible.
  • Avoid using a roof box, as these can increase the car’s susceptibility to crosswinds.
  • Look out for debris in the road, especially after blind bends. Also look out for low-hanging branches, especially at night when they might not be picked up by your headlights.
  • Park away from trees, telephone lines, power lines and buildings.
  • Expect delays, speed restrictions and bridge closures. You might need to change your route, so leave extra time for your journey.
  • Listen to the weather forecast for updates. Remember, it’s often better to delay your journey if possible.
  • Keep an eye on traffic updates, either via local radio, social media or your sat-nav system.

‘Be prepared’ for windy conditions

VW damaged by tree after strong winds

Mark Lewis, director of standards at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Driving in windy conditions can be quite challenging, so it’s important that you concentrate on the road at all times and take particular care when driving through narrow roads or over bridges.

“Also, keep an eye out for where you will suddenly go from a windy section of the road to a sheltered one – sudden loss of strong winds can be just as unbalancing, so be prepared.”

Click here for the latest UK weather warnings issued by the Met Office.

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