Driving in strong winds can catch out even the most experienced driver.
High winds rarely blow steadily, and sudden gusts can catch you out no matter how experienced a driver you are.
Expect sudden gusts at any time but particularly on open stretches of road, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges or when overtaking high-sided vehicles.
Whether it’s driving in strong winds, snow, floods or fog, if extreme weather is forecast it is always best to avoid travelling unless your journey is absolutely necessary.
There are three potential problems to be aware of if you’re driving in high winds
You can be blown off course
Other vehicles can be blown into your path
High-sided vehicles and caravans are most affected when driving in strong winds but sudden gusts can blow any vehicle off course. Keep your distance from all other vehicles and take particular care around cyclists, motorcyclists and horse-riders.
If you breakdown on the motorway or on any busy road in gusty weather it’s important to bear in mind that lorries and other high-sided vehicles could be blown off course suddenly and may veer onto the hard shoulder. It’s safer to move to a safe location away from the vehicle rather than wait in the car to be rescued.
There could be trees or other debris in the road
Inevitably, some trees or branches will come down when winds are high. If you see twigs or small branches in the road there could easily be a tree or large branch in the road around the next bend. Hitting debris like this at speed could be fatal so it’s important to keep your speed down and drive with great care particularly on country roads early in the morning.
Trees can partially fall too and hang above the road, sometimes above the sweep of the headlights making them very difficult to spot.
If you must drive in strong winds it’s important to be well prepared and plan your journey in advance. We recommend to regularly check weather and traffic bulletins for up-to-date information regarding reduced speed limits or temporary road closures that may apply as a result of falling debris or collisions, which tend to be more frequent in extreme weather conditions.
In the case of an emergency, it’s good practice to always carry a fully-charged mobile phone and warm, weatherproof clothing.