When driving in windy conditions, we must make allowances for the effect this may have on the vehicle we are driving. But also, we need to be aware of the way in which it can cause problems for other, more vulnerable road users.
Pedestrians and Cyclists
A sudden gust of wind can very easily blow anyone on two wheels off course. This can be much worse when there are gaps in between tall buildings; the wind can blow through these narrow spaces with even greater ferocity. Cyclists and motorcyclists need much more room in these conditions. Give them as much space as you can when overtaking. But when you can’t get past, be patient and hang well back until a safe opportunity arises.
Strong winds can also blow pedestrians off balance. Be careful when they’re near the kerb edge or waiting to cross, as they could easily end up on the road when hit by a powerful gust. When passing pedestrians in this situation, keep your speed down and move further out from the kerb if it’s safe to do so.
You need to keep a lookout for objects which may end up in the road. Flying pieces of plastic or paper may suddenly appear stuck to your windscreen. Waste bins could litter the road, along with broken branches, and other debris; any of these could cause damage to your car. Be alert to this kind of hazard and avoid flying debris as much as you can; but avoid making any sudden changes of direction that may endanger others.
Gale force winds can sometimes uproot whole trees. This kind of hazard is at its most dangerous on winding country roads where you may have a restricted view ahead due to bends.
Be aware when approaching corners that your speed should always be at a level where you can stop comfortably should there be a road blockage.
The Open Road
When driving in windy conditions at higher speeds on the open road, strong crosswinds can hit the car with such force that you may find yourself being pushed to a side. This problem always seems to be worse on motorways where there’s rarely any shelter from the full force of the wind.
When going under a road bridge or passing a high-sided vehicle you’ll be temporarily shielded from the wind; but be wary when you begin to emerge at the other side. The sudden force of the gale hitting you again can easily push you off course. Take a firmer grip on the wheel and be ready to correct your steering if necessary.
For more information about driving in windy conditions and other bad weather; read Driving at Night & in Bad Weather >>>