Advertorial : Tips on how to drive safely in windy conditions

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

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You know that feeling when it’s blowing a gale outside:  the last thing you want to do is leave the house, but sometimes you just need to.  So you cut a dash for the car and head off on your way.  But driving in the wind can be dangerous, so once you’re on the road, you should consider these tips on driving safely in a gale.

Firstly, to plan for any eventuality, you should make sure your car safety contingency plan – including car insurance and breakdown cover – is up to date before heading out.  Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk) offers Breakdown Cover as an add-on which can be added to your Allianz Your Cover policy at any time.

Reduce your speed
As with all adverse driving conditions, the main factor to consider is your speed.  You might think that because cars are heavy, they are not as affected by the wind, but they are subject to the laws of physics just like everything else.  Reduce your speed, especially when on raised motorways with strong side winds, as these can cause your car to be pushed across the road.  The faster you go, the quicker your car can be knocked off course, so slow down.

Keep your distance
When driving, you should always maintain a safe distance – at least two chevrons on the motorway – but it is particularly important when it’s windy as more could go wrong.  Other cars are battling against the wind too, so their movement could be unpredictable.   Keeping a bigger distance should keep you safe if the car in front brakes suddenly.

Focus on fixed points in distance
It is sometimes difficult to detect when your car is drifting across the road, so focus on fixed points ahead, such as trees or buildings to determine if you are holding your course.  Trees are also a good way of telling how windy it is outside.

Look out for objects
Be aware of low hanging trees, as wind can cause branches to break off and fall onto roads.  Also, keep an eye out for other debris and give vehicles with objects tethered to them, such as flat back trucks with goods loaded on them, or cars with roof racks, a wide berth.

Consider other types of vehicles
Other types of vehicles behave differently in the wind.  Bigger vehicles should be handled with care, so avoid hastily trying to overtake tall heavy good vehicles, as these can topple in extreme wind.  But also, look out for cyclists and motorcyclists: two wheeled vehicles are affected most by the wind and their riders are having to work harder to keep safe.  Help them out by observing safe distances and reasonable speeds.

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Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

10 Comments

  1. How about ‘oh it is dangerous out – let’s not go out in our car and add to the problems for the emergency services and AA.?

  2. It’s about that time that SUV drivers realise that their slab sided buses should realise that these vehicles have limitations, as they continue to hurtle down the road at 80mph+.

  3. Here in Slovenia in winter normaly blow with peaks far over 150 km/h and is not rare to have peaks on 180-200 km/h, naturally the highways for all the trucks are closed, but you can find always some on…..with strong side wind the trick is to trim the wind adding some steer (so you drive a bit against the wind to go straight) the danger is when a truck or a bridge takes you the wind away, and youre still with the wheels turned in the wrong way….but once you get used is funny

  4. Sports cars, luxury saloons, SUVs… It doesn’t really matter what type of vehicle you are driving, most crashes are ultimately attributed to driver error rather than external factors such as the weather.

    Excessive speed, braking or steering in relation to the driving conditions are the main factors that lead to a crash. Driving too fast in a high-sided vehicle shows a lack of understanding about the potential impact weather conditons will have, suggesting driving skills are based more on perceived skills rather than actual practised skill.

    As David Knowles suggests, failure to recognise the increased influence poor weather conditions will have on reducing the driver’s actual safety envelope, which is not adequately compensated for by a conscious increase in responsible driving behaviour, will increase the likelihood of being involved in a crash. Classic transport psychology.

  5. @1 – I dont think many people are in a position to ring up their employer and say its a bit windy today so I wont be in.

  6. @6 I didn’t say you automatically won’t try to get in to work – I only wished to suggest that it might be a good idea not to try to kill yourself and/or others in the process of getting there! All the time we hear the police and others say in certain circumstances ‘only go out if your journey is really essential’ only to see all the numpties on our TV screens who arrogantly and ignorantly assumed that this meant everyone else and not them.

  7. Tay Road Bridge closed.

    I remember the day I encountered that. The alternative route from Fife was a 60 mile round trip to Perth.

  8. I find heading onto the motorway with a full tank of fuel helps in strong winds. The extra ballast seems to make the car more stable and predictable if I’m caught in a crosswind.

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