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How to stay safe driving in high wind and stormy weather

High winds can be dangerous for all sorts of reasons, not least when you’re out on the road. Most experts will advise that if you can get away without driving when the weather is severe then you should, but for many people there’s no other option.

If you do have to venture out in strong winds, we’ve compiled a list of advice for keeping yourself and other road users safe when you’re driving through stormy weather.

Drive cautiously

According to advice from IAM RoadSmart, anyone who has to drive in stormy weather should do so with extreme care and caution given that strong winds can create all sorts of unpredictable problems on the road.

IAM says that drivers should drive slowly with both hands on the steering wheel for maximum control in the event that they may have to avoid debris like fallen tree branches that’s been blown into the middle of the road.

Particularly when driving on the motorway, drivers should ensure they keep their speed low, IAM states, given that winds tend to be stronger in exposed areas. If you are blown off course by a sudden gust, you’ll veer further out of your lane at 70mph than you would at 50mph.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is key to staying safe on the road in high winds according to the RAC, and this applies equally to preparation before you set off and staying aware of what’s ahead when you’re actually on the road.

Due to the fact that road closures are common during storms, the RAC says that drivers should be aware of a backup route to use to get to their destination in the event that your usual course is obstructed.

Motorists should also make sure that their phones are fully charged or at least that they have a charger in their cars in the event they suffer a breakdown or discover they can’t make it to their destination so that they can call for help.

When on the road it’s suggested that you look ahead to see what’s happening to other vehicles in front of you. If other vehicles appear to be getting blown off course by the wind, this will give you a forewarning and allow you to adjust your driving accordingly.

Keep an eye out for other road users

You should take care to leave plenty of room between your own vehicle and other road users to account for the fact that any of you could suddenly be blown sideways, IAM states.

High-sided vehicles like lorries and buses are particularly susceptible to strong winds due to their size, while lighter, smaller and more vulnerable road users like motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians which can be suddenly buffeted off-course by side winds.

IAM also says to beware overtaking lorries in strong winds, as their large size can shield your own vehicle from the wind. If you’re not careful, you could be hit by strong gusts as soon as you’re in front of the vehicle beside you.

Make sure help is available

When driving in any sort of adverse weather you should always make sure that help is readily available in case you get into bother. This could be as simple as letting a relative, colleague or friend know where you’re going, and making sure you have a way to contact them.

Particularly in the autumn and winter months, when bad weather is more common, it can also be useful making sure that you have adequate breakdown cover included in your car insurance policy.

That way, if anything happens to you on the road, you can rest assured that expert, professional help is just around the corner. You can find out more about our Breakdown Assistance here. 

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