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.