High Wind: Driving Safety Tips
“High Winds on Bridge”, says the sign, when I am getting close to the 4.5-mile long bridge on my daily commute. What is the sign here for? To give me a topic of discussion with other drivers while we are crawling through morning traffic? Or to deliver some important info and warn about special weather conditions?
In fact, there are a lot of things to keep in mind when you see such sign and are traveling through powerful high winds. Whether you are on a highway, on a bridge or on a rural road, be prepared to deal with bad weather.
Strong winds are dangerous for both experienced and newbie drivers, and driving through windy areas demands being extra attentive and extra careful. Here’s what you should do, when you feel that your car is being attacked by powerful gusts:
- Be aware of and maintain safe distances from other vehicles near you, especially trucks, buses and big trailers. These vehicles could swing out and hit your car in sudden gusts.
- Reduce the speed of your car to minimize the wind’s effect on your vehicle.
- Correct your steering, especially when moving from a protected area to an unprotected area, or when near large vehicles.
- Wind is often accompanied by heavy rain, snow or hailstorms. Stay alert for slippery areas. And get ready to deal with other adverse weather conditions when you are behind the wheel on a windy day.
- Watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway. Tree limbs may break and other debris may come loose during strong winds. When arriving at your destination, avoid parking near trees.
- Pay attention to travel warnings and bans; some states restrict the use of certain vehicles in high wind.
- Beware of the abrupt calm after a series of gusts. Sudden quietness may not mean that the storm is over.
If you know that the weather is going to be hazardous for driving, don’t take risks—simply don’t get behind-the-wheel. Get on the road only if it’s necessary and always carry a fully-charged mobile phone and warm, waterproof clothing on your trip.