Bad weather causes bad road conditions and leads to accidents. Unfortunately, snow and rain aren’t the only weather issues you need to watch out for. High winds can be just as dangerous, so use these tips to navigate them safely.
Anytime road conditions make you feel uncomfortable, slow down. Driving slower gives you more time to react and helps you feel more in control.
“Slow down some, but don’t become a hazard to other drivers,” says race car driver and high-performance driving instructor Ben Greisler. “Pull off to a safe location if the wind becomes too strong.”
Take it easy
When the wind pushes your car around, instinct tells you to push back, hard. That’s not always the best choice, though.
“Your vehicle will tend to be pushed around by the wind, but keep your steering inputs gentle,” says Greisler. “If you overcorrect the steering and the wind lets up, you might find yourself veering in the opposite direction.”
Keep your eyes peeled
High winds push around more than your car. They send nearby objects like trees and building debris flying through the air without warning. Be aware of what’s around you, and be ready to dodge anything that comes your way or lands in the road in front of you.
High winds and falling trees can also cause downed power lines. Watch for these during and after a windstorm and call 911 if you see one.
Turn on your lights
Hit your headlights, even in the middle of the day. High winds can blow dirt, dust and debris across the road, reducing visibility.
Use both hands
You should always steer with both hands, but it’s especially important during a windstorm. Using both hands will help make sure you’re ready if a gust of wind hits your car hard enough to make it swerve.
Watch out for bigger vehicles
If you think you have a hard time keeping your car moving in a straight line, imagine what the drivers of semis and buses go through! Keep back from these larger vehicles and avoid passing them whenever possible.
Staying calm in stressful situations is sometimes easier said than done, but give it a shot.
“While it may feel like it, it is unlikely that the wind will be able to push your car out of the lane,” says Greisler. “Stay calm and keep a steady grip on the steering wheel. Relax!”