No matter where you live or where you might be traveling, you could suddenly find yourself in a high wind scenario. Not knowing what to do when the wind blows hard can leave you incredibly vulnerable on the road, possibly leading to serious damage to your car and even personal injuries that can stay with you the rest of your life. Armed with the following information, you will at least know what to do in the situation, lessening the chances that something serious will happen on your journey.
To start off, you should avoid driving fast. While it might seem like a great idea to speed so you can get out of the wind, that strategy could backfire big time. Driving with the wind pushing you can actually cause your car to accelerate out of control. If the wind is blowing against the side of the car, a big gust can suddenly blow you off course, and if you are driving fast it’s harder to regain control and steer out of an oncoming lane of traffic. Also, if you are speeding, when you correct for the wind blowing your car off course, you are more likely to overcorrect, which often turns into a rollover accident. So when the wind starts to howl, the best thing you can do is slow down a little bit.
Tips For Driving In High Winds
Avoid driving in a car with a high profile. The profile on your car refers to how your car looks from the side. Tall, boxy vehicles will be more affected by high winds since more of the vehicle is exposed to any gusts. Most tall vehicles are also fairly top-heavy, making them huge rollover risks even in normal conditions. If you must go somewhere during a windstorm, it’s best to choose a vehicle that is short and low to the ground. Sports cars, in general, are great choices, just remember to not bury the accelerator and you should be fine.
Steer well away from trailers or anything else that is being towed. While it’s difficult to keep a trailer in check during normal conditions, when the wind is whipping around it can be completely impossible. Semi-truck trailers, car carriers, boats, and campers can suddenly start whipping back and forth unpredictably on the road, and if your car is in the way you will suffer the consequences. Not only should you not tailgate any of these objects, but you should also avoid driving next to them on the road during high winds.
Avoid taking turns and corners fast. When the wind is blowing hard, it reduces the friction between your tires and the road. With reduced friction comes reduced handling ability, meaning you need to take turns slowly or you could end up fishtailing and going off the road. If it is raining as well, traction for your tires will be even further reduced. Remember that with the reduced traction you can also hydroplane with greater ease on any standing water on the road, so avoid accelerating as you hit unavoidable puddles.
Be extra vigilant. Watch out for objects that might be blown into the road. It’s not uncommon to see broken tree limbs and other small debris come loose in the presence of high winds. So make sure to always pay attention when driving in areas that are surrounded by trees and other movable objects. Also, be careful when you park and stay away from trees as much as possible.
Don’t be complacent despite the calm. You may experience some abrupt change in the weather after a series of gusts but never think of this as the end of it all. This may just be a passing quietness as stronger winds gather. The calm before the storm hits, so stay up on your toes and take every precaution necessary.
Never panic in the face of unexpected situations. For example, you should gently steer in the opposite direction if you feel the side wind changing your car’s direction. Side winds are dangerous for any type of vehicle as they may blow them off course. If not careful, you’re not just going to be a danger to yourself but to everyone near you, pedestrians and vehicles alike. The key here is to always stay calm and watch out for any shift in your car’s direction. Panicking will cause you more trouble, so always keep a steady head. If you feel a slight change in your course, just turn your wheel quickly opposite the direction of the side wind with smooth, gentle movements.
Be informed. It’s very easy to be in line with the news nowadays so it doesn’t make sense if you fail to get information on the latest weather report. The National Weather Service always provides advisories whenever high winds are expected and knowing about this will give you ample time to prepare.
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