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IAM has just issued advice on driving in windy weather as severe gales are set to spread across the country during the next few days, so read below for some tips on how to combat the windy weather and stay safe on the roads.
Plan your journey
Try to plan your route for each journey you make, so if you know that a certain route will expose you to worse weather conditions and more risk of fallen trees, try to avoid it and choose a more sheltered option, even if it means you’ll take longer to reach your final destination.
Avoid over-taking vehicles where possible. High sided vehicles such as vans and lorries can produce a sudden gust of wind from the side of them as you go past, so it’s well worth steering clear, particularly on motorways where the lanes are narrow and do not allow for cars to veer suddenly to one side.
Give other road users room
Make sure you leave even more room than usual between you and other road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses. Larger and smaller vehicles are more likely to be blown about by side winds which could result in an accident if you are driving too near to them.
Keep an eye on trees
It is well worth keeping an eye on the trees and bushes on the roadside as you’re driving – the movement of their branches will show you how strong the wind is, so look well ahead so you can spot windier patches before you reach them.
It goes without saying that driving in severe winds is much harder, so it pays to keep your cool and remain calm at all times. Remember that strong winds are not constant but gusty, so hold the steering wheel firmly to make caught out. Also make sure you drive slow enough to cope with the gusts – wind can get under a car and reduce its handling and braking, so driving at a steady pace is essential.
IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “I have seen a parked car moved by the wind. Don’t underestimate how powerful it is and how it can affect you whilst in the car.”
To help drivers stay safe this winter, the IAM has launched a new website, drivingadvice.org.uk, with traffic updates, weather forecasts and tips on how to drive safely in winter.