Adverse weather conditions are not uncommon, particularly around coastal areas and exposed flatlands. Winter months, and even spring with fluctuating temperatures, often bring strong winds. Crosswinds become noticeable, especially when driving across bridges or flat terrain near buildings that channel the wind. While the weight and modern features of vehicles provide a degree of protection, the question arises: Is there ever a point when it’s too windy to drive?
There are no specific laws governing windy driving conditions, but safety guidelines abound. Weather warnings, ranging from Yellow to Amber and Red (indicating severity), should not be ignored. Extreme winds pose the risk of vehicles being blown off course, potentially leading to collisions, or of trees and branches falling onto the road. Choosing not to drive during weather warnings is a prudent decision, as road conditions are likely to be clearer due to other drivers exercising caution.
The impact of wind is more pronounced on high-sided vehicles, but drivers of smaller cars, motorbikes, and cyclists should also remain vigilant. While not illegal, driving in extreme winds is not advisable. For those compelled to drive in such conditions, or those caught in the midst of worsening weather, the following tips are crucial:
- Maintain a Sensible Speed:
- Driving at an appropriate speed allows for better reaction time to unexpected hazards.
- Keep a Safe Distance:
- Slowing down and maintaining a safe following distance are essential to counteract unexpected vehicle movements caused by the wind.
- Stay Aware of Surroundings:
- Learn from past storm experiences and be vigilant for falling trees or other hazards, such as power lines.
- Grip the Steering Wheel Firmly:
- Sudden wind gusts can lead to veering off course if the steering wheel is held lightly. Maintain a firm grip.
- Steer Gently into Side Winds:
- Counteract the sideways push from strong winds by gently steering into the wind’s direction, but exercise caution with oncoming traffic.
- Park Away from Hazards:
- When possible, park away from potential hazards like trees, power lines, and buildings to avoid damage caused by falling objects during the storm.
While not a legal prohibition, these guidelines offer practical advice for navigating extreme winds, prioritizing safety, and minimizing risks during adverse weather conditions.