How to drive safely in high winds

How to drive safely in high winds 23rd September 2014

As we draw nearer to the end of the year, and winter gets ever closer, the chances of high winds affecting drivers across the UK increases drastically. 

With winter in this country often bringing with it winds of around 100mph, driving in winter can be a challenge for anyone on the road, but preparing well for the task can ensure that drivers have a much better chance of staying safe. 

So what are the best ways to ensure you stay safe on the road in high winds?

  • Be sensible. As always with extreme weather conditions, it's best to stay home if at all possible. Assess whether you really need to travel before heading out.
  • Plan your journey. Try to steer clear of small country roads, where there is a far greater chance of fallen trees, and any routes where you may need to cross bridges or other areas exposed to the wind. 
  • Be vigilant. Winds are not consistent, so make sure you're driving with both hands on the wheel. Gusts can be sudden and strong, so you need to make sure you are in full control of the vehicle to combat this. If you find yourself being blown slightly off course, don't panic, just gently steer your car back into the right position on the road. 
  • Eyes on the road. Hazards on the road, such as branches or fallen trees, are far more common when it's windy, so make sure you're always watching to ensure you have plenty of time to react. Keep your eyes on other vehicles as well, as high-sided cars, vans and lorries in particular can easily be affected by the wind. 
  • Adjust your driving style. If you're driving into headwinds, you'll need to use more revs to keep your car travelling at the right speed, but if you change direction and have a tailwind behind you, be mindful that you're not being blown forward and breaking the speed limit. 
  • Slow down. The way your car drives will be different when the wind is blowing, with braking in particular likely to be affected when gusts are howling all around the car, so ease off the accelerator a little to lower the risk. 
  • Pre-check your vehicle. When there is a risk of being blown off course, it is vital to ensure your car is in a healthy state to tackle the roads, particularly in terms of grip. Check the health of your tyres, and if they are suffering a lack of tread, make an appointment to have new tyres fitted

Posted by Danielle Barge