Preparation is key for driving in stormy conditions

7th January 2014

Recent weeks have seen extreme weather hitting vast areas of the UK, with wind and rain causing havoc in many areas.

Falling trees and flooded roads have been the main concern for motorists and there is little drivers can do about these events. However, it is crucial that people take the time to prepare for driving in blustery conditions.

Peter Rodger, the Institute of Advanced Motorists' chief examiner, indicated that strong winds can unsettle a vehicle and even alter the direction a car is travelling should a particularly strong gust of wind take hold of it.

Therefore, it is important to plan each and every journey, taking into account your route's exposure to the weather conditions. Using sheltered routes is highly recommended and roads that are not lined with trees.

Keeping a tight grip of the steering wheel is also important, according to the expert, as stormy weather brings gusts of wind that can surprise drivers if they lose concentration for a split second.

One of the main dangers when driving in windy conditions is overtaking high-sided vehicles, as these are more susceptible to winds. Not only is there a risk of these vehicles overturning, drivers passing them may feel a sudden gust of wind when they pass after being sheltered during overtaking.

This can come as a surprise and further indicates the importance of keeping a tight grip on the steering wheel.

The recent windy weather has also brought heavy rainfall and drivers should be prepared for the challenges a slippery road surface can throw at them. Setting the heater and air conditioning controls before setting off is crucial. Rainfall can make the window mist up in seconds and the last thing motorists want to be doing in taxing conditions is fiddling with the controls on the dashboard and peering through an ever-decreasing visibility window.

Mr Rodger also advises putting a vehicle's lights on when using the wipers as a rule of thumb. He also recommends putting wipers onto their fastest settings when overtaking.