Stay safe whilst driving in high winds

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  • | by Kristian Dando

Gosh! There’s some rather gusty weather out there at the moment, meaning that the roads have the potential to be an altogether more dangerous place to be than usual.

So, we’ve put together this useful guide to staying safe as the gales start a blowin’ with some help from the Institute of Advanced Motorists and their top driver, chief examiner Peter Rodger - what he doesn't know about safe driving probably isn't worth knowing. "I have seen a parked car moved by the wind,” recalls Rodger. “Don't underestimate how powerful it is and how it can affect you whilst in the car." Read on then, for a guide to navigating those windswept highways with the steady surefootedness of a mountain goat...

Plan ahead

Plan your journey - is there a route with less exposure to the weather and less risk of fallen trees? Choose a sheltered route if you have the option. 

Get a grip

Strong winds are not constant, they are usually gusty so ensure you hold the steering wheel firmly.

Take care when you pass

Overtaking high sided vehicles like lorries or buses or driving past buildings can result in a sudden gust from the side as you clear, so take extra caution. 

Give more room to others

You should always give cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses plenty of room. But when the wind picks up, you should give them even more space - they get blown around by side winds easily.

Keep an eye out for obstacles and the road ahead

Watch trees and bushes on the roadside - their branches show you how strong the wind is. Look well ahead, that way you don't need to take your eye off the road and you can see any windy patches before you get to them, and make sure you've got room to doge any debris. Keep an eye on what is happening to other vehicles - where they are affected will give you a pre warning.

Go slow

Reduce your speed to cope with the gusts. Wind can get under a car and reduce its handling and braking significantly.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has just launched a new website, If features traffic updates, weather forecasts and tips on how to drive safely in winter and is well worth a visit.