You may feel safe in your car in high winds, particularly if the road doesn't seem especially slippery, but powerful gusts can still be a serious hazard.

Tips for driving in high wind

June 14th, 2016 by

You may feel safe in your car in high winds, particularly if the road doesn't seem especially slippery, but powerful gusts can still be a serious hazard.

You may feel safe in your car in high winds, particularly if the road doesn't seem especially slippery, but powerful gusts can still be a serious hazard. With some winds reaching nearly 100 mph in severe thunderstorms, even a full-sized automobile can be pushed around by strong winds – causing erratic traffic patterns and possible accidents

If you find yourself out during a windstorm, follow these tips to remain safe on the road:

Drive slowly
For smaller, lighter cars, slowing down is particularly important. Make sure to leave a wide berth between you and other vehicles. If you can, build extra time into your commute so it is easier to resist the urge to rush.  

Watch out for other vehicles
Larger vehicles like trucks, vans, SUVs and any car pulling weight may be prone to swerving when pushed by wind. Stay vigilant when passing or driving parallel to these other motorists.

Wear a seatbelt and grip the steering firmly
In addition to following all the usual safety precautions – such as seatbelts and obeying speed limits – make sure that you have a firm grip on the steering wheel. If you feel yourself being pushed, slow the car and try to avoid making dramatic steering adjustments that may cause you to spin out or hydroplane.

Anticipate gusts in unprotected areas
Some areas are less protected from strong winds than others: Crossing over an exposed bridge, driving near the ocean or geographic features that create a wind tunnel can cause stronger-than-normal gusts. When traveling through these areas, be sure to take extra precautions.

Stay vigilant against blowing debris or other hazards
High winds may cause trees to blow over, branches to fall off, power lines to fall, or stir up debris that limits your visibility. Turn on your headlights to improve your visibility and make yourself more easily seen by other drivers. Avoid driving over any object that may have fallen in the road. If you come to a downed power line, never touch it or drive over it. Instead, note its location and report it to your local utility emergency center and to the police when you are safe enough to do so. 

Stop and find shelter
If the wind is strong enough to make driving unsafe, your best bet is to find a sheltered, secure location to pull over and wait out the windstorm. Make sure to pull a safe distance away from a main road, as well as avoid any trees or power lines that could be felled by the wind. Once in a safe spot, turn on your radio and monitor the weather situation for emergency updates. 

If your car is damaged during a windstorm, a solid car insurance policy may be able to help. Call Fundy Mutual today to learn more.