8 Effective Tips for Driving Safely in Strong Wind and Rain
Rain, snow and ice are not the only meteorological phenomena that threaten the safety of drivers behind the wheel. The wind, being an unpredictable factor, is always more dangerous on the road. If it blows with gusts it will be very strong. Here are some tips for driving in the wind in a totally safe way:
Pay attention to the wind direction
In addition to looking at the landscape and the movement of the trees to confirm a windy day, there are certain sensations behind the wheel that can give you clues about the direction in which the wind is blowing. In this way, you can react with more time and success.
- If you feel that the car is struggling to maintain speed it means the air is blowing from the front.
- Also, if you feel the vehicle is moving lighter it means the current is blowing from behind.
- If you feel lurch it means that the wind is blowing from the side. This is the most dangerous case.
- Hearing more noise than usual in the passenger compartment is very common if there are strong gusts of wind.
The main problem with this meteorological phenomenon is that strong gusts of wind can cause the vehicle to deviate from its path. For this reason, General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) recommends reducing speed and using low gears. Additionally, DGT recommends to use a high engine speed to maintain the car’s trajectory and its grip on the asphalt.
Drive through the center of the lane
It is best to drive in the center of the lane. If you stand at one of the two ends an unexpected gust of wind could make you invade the opposite lane or end up in the ditch. You must be especially careful with secondary roads, because being narrower they hinder the ability to react.
Beware of the “screen effect”
The “screen effect” occurs when a car passes a larger one with strong side air currents and suddenly the wind ceases. It causes you to lose control of the car’s direction slightly. In these cases, it is best to hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid sudden movements. And also it is best to reduce speed slightly and position of the car’s wheels pointing towards the wind direction. It makes very short steering wheel that turns to get back on the correct path as soon as possible.
Caution in tunnels and bridges
You must keep in mind that when entering an underpass, the force of the wind pushes the car cease. When the air leaves, it will return with a different intensity and direction than it was before entering the tunnel. On the other hand, when passing over a bridge it is also recommended that you exercise extreme caution. Because these constructions are usually unprotected from the wind.
Beware of heavy vehicles
Heavy vehicles such as trucks, vans or buses pose an additional risk when driving in strong gusts of wind. Because their heavy weight means they can easily lose their balance. You should also be careful with vehicles that are accompanied by a trailer. In these cases, it is best to overtake, separating yourself as much as possible from this type of vehicle.
Check tire pressure
It is very important that you always check the condition and pressure of your tires. You will follow this especially when the weather conditions are unfavorable.
Attention to possible objects on the road
You must always be alert, since in episodes of strong winds it is very common to see plastic bags or other objects roll down the road. On the road you must also be careful with possible landslides.