Driving in Windy Conditions

Driving in windy conditions blog article

Driving in windy conditions is a risk we often underestimate. Winter in the UK sees the windiest weather as the Gulf Stream moves further south and results in storms hitting the UK. The North and the West are the windiest areas. In the list of top 10 windiest locations in the UK, all are in Scotland apart from Gwynedd and the Isle of Wight.

Only undertake journeys in high winds if they are absolutely necessary. If you do set off and the wind speeds increase, it’s best to call ahead to notify your destination and stop somewhere safe. You’ll need to plan ahead and consider your route and whether there are particular features that will expose your vehicles to strong gusts, these could include bridges, overpasses or road cuttings that could funnel wind.

High winds often come with heavy rain so check your vehicle to ensure that the tyres and wipers are in good condition.

If you’re in the freight industry and you hear a forecast for windy weather, look for alert messages from Highways England. An amber alert means take care but a red alert means you shouldn’t be driving.

Tips for driving in windy conditions

  • Slow down, you’ll have more time to anticipate gusts of wind and they will have less effect on your vehicle. You’ll also have more chance to react to debris in the road.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel and grip it firmly but not so rigid that you cannot react to sudden gusts.
  • Think about your route and look at the surroundings ahead of you. Exposed sections of road and bridges will see the highest windspeeds and trees and buildings will shelter your vehicle.
  • Beware of wind gusts blowing between tall buildings.
  • Look out for fallen trees and branches as you follow a bend in the road.
  • Observe the traffic ahead closely and look for signs of high wind in the movements of vehicles ahead. This will help you anticipate gusts.
  • Plan your journey time to allow for bridge closures and significant detours. Ideally plan your route to avoid bridges.
  • Watch out for standing water and slow down to avoid aquaplaning.
  • If a tail wind is speeding up your vehicle, beware of braking as it can cause the vehicle to spin.
  • If you’re driving past a high sided vehicle, be prepared for a sudden gust of wind as you pass the vehicle. Refraining from overtaking if possible.
  • Give all road users more room in case they get blown off course, this could apply to a high sided vehicle down to a cyclist.
  • Avoid towing trailers in windy conditions.
  • Park your vehicle in a location away from objects that could be blown onto your vehicle. This could include avoiding parking near large trees, large signs, fence panels etc.

Maybe this can form a toolbox talk for your drivers? If you want need any further assistance on collision prevention, contact me at james@fleetsafetyacademy.co.uk

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