Most drivers are well aware of the hazards posed by inclement weather conditions such as heavy rains, snow, and ice. But what about gusty winds?
Winds of even 30 to 45 mph can make driving significantly more dangerous. First, they can actually blow your car off course. Second, they can blow other vehicles, including big tractor-trailers, off course, posing significant danger to other motorists on the road. High profile vehicles such as trucks, vans, and SUVs are particularly at increased risk in high winds.
Strong winds can also blow around debris such as tree limbs, road detritus, or fallen cargo. Here are 5 tips for safe driving in gusty winds.
#1 Watch the weather report
The U.S. National Weather Service provides wind advisories prior to and during the time high winds are expected. A Wind Advisory, for example, alerts viewers that gusts of up to 45 mph or sustained hour-long winds of 30 mph or above are expected in 36 hours. A High Wind Watch will let you know if sustained winds of 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or above are expected in the coming 12 to 48 hours.
Even the low end of the scale, 30 mph, is enough to blow smaller objects around. If you have a choice of whether or not to drive when wind advisories are issued, it is safer not to. If you must drive, follow the steps below.
#2 Be alert
Stay extra vigilant behind the wheel during wind advisories. If a large truck is moving from side to side, try to get away from it – semis or big rigs can cause fatal injury if their trailers detach and collide with another vehicle. Also be on the lookout for tree limbs that can blow into the stream of traffic, posing additional dangers.
#3 Drive slowly
It’s prudent to decrease your speed during high winds. The faster you’re going, the less reaction time you have. If you need to stop or pull over suddenly, it’s safer to do so if you’re already traveling at a slower speed.
#4 In side winds, steer in the opposite direction
For drivers, side winds are likely the most frightening, as they can make your vehicle skid laterally– and, if they are high enough, give you the sensation you are fighting with your car to stay on the road.
If side winds occur as you’re driving, steer gently and slowly in the opposite direction. Never panic or turn the steering wheel suddenly.
#5 Adjust to head or tail winds
Head or tail winds are much easier to drive in, as they do not affect the orientation of the car. They may either slow you (head winds) or speed you up (tail winds). If tail winds are making the car go too fast, adjust your speed, but don’t use the break to slow the car, because it can cause the vehicle to spin.
Legal representation you can count on
If you have been involved in a vehicle crash where the other driver was negligent, you may be eligible for compensation.
The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has extensive experience in successfully litigating commercial vehicle accident claims. We have offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. Our initial consultation on your case is free of charge. Call today to speak with a Louisiana truck accident lawyer who gets results. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!
- DefensiveDriving.com. How to Drive Safely in Strong Wind. November 12, 2014. https://www.defensivedriving.com/blog/how-to-drive-safely-in-strong-wind/
- U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Weather Service. Wind Information Page. https://www.weather.gov/dmx/dsswind