12 Tips for Driving in the Wind
One of the weather elements you have to deal with when driving in the winter is wind. It doesn’t always get the same amount of attention as driving in the rain, ice, or snow, but it still presents challenges. Here are our 12 tips for driving safely in the wind.
- Don’t drive – if your journey is not necessary, consider staying at home, particularly when the weather forecast is for unusually strong winds.
- Plan – some roads are more dangerous than others in the wind so look for a route you can take that is on more sheltered roads.
- Stay alert – this is one of the most important tips, and it involves a number of elements. It includes being aware of the movement of your car as well as looking out for debris on the road. Things like twigs or small branches on the road could be an indication of a fallen tree ahead. Also, be aware of fallen trees which may be difficult to see when driving at night – specifically, partially fallen trees that don’t fully reach the ground but which can sit above the level of your headlights so may still pose a danger. Finally, be aware of what is happening with other vehicles around you, particularly high-sided vehicles.
- Know what to expect – gusts of wind are more likely on exposed roads and bridges so take greater care when in those locations.
- Avoid towing – trailers and caravans are harder to tow in the wind as they can move around or even flip. If you can, avoid towing when winds are strong.
- Remove roof boxes – roof top boxes increase the impact of high winds hitting your car. It is best to remove them before driving in the wind.
- Slow down – slowing down will make it easier for you to react to fallen trees and other debris on the road, as well as incidents that may happen with vehicles in front of you. Also, it is a good idea to leave more room between your car and the vehicle in front.
- Take care when overtaking – particularly when overtaking a high-side vehicle like a lorry. As you go around the vehicle, it might protect you from the wind but as you emerge in front the air turbulence can be significant.
- Hold the steering wheel – this sounds simple but it is important to grip the steering wheel firmly with both hands when driving in the wind so you have a better feel of what the car is doing. This also improves your reaction times.
- Give cyclists, motorcyclists, and horse riders more space – your car can make it more difficult for other road users in windy conditions so give them as much space as you can.
- Give high-sided vehicles more space – high-sided vehicles face the greatest challenges in the wind, so give them plenty of room. This particularly applies if you are traveling behind one – leave as much space as you can.
- Park carefully – finally, take care where you park so you don’t return to your car to find it has been damaged by a fallen branch or other debris. For example, try to avoid parking under trees.
Wind is something we have to put up with in Ireland from time to time, but taking care when driving and knowing the dangers will help keep you and other road users safe.