2006 Mazda Miata

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Windy Weather

by Steve Dearborn

Weather conditions affect your normal driving patterns and can cause difficulty in driving. This is usually a problem when there is high wind, rain, snow, sleet or fog. If you are like most drivers, you are probably aware of the possible dangers of driving in cold or wet weather conditions, but did you know that driving in high temperature could also have an impact on your driving?

Some weather conditions that are usually associated with high temperature include sun glare, high winds and heat shimmers. Sun glare can be a huge problem if you are driving facing the sun as this causes impaired visibility. When the sun is shining directly in your face, it becomes difficult to see ahead.

In order to appreciate how weather impacts on safety while driving, it is reported that out of over 5 million crashes each year, more than 1 million of those were weather-related, resulting from adverse weather such as sleet, fog, snow, rain, crosswinds or blowing sand.  Windy weather can be the most unpredictable because you never know where some flying object, such as sand or debris, might affect your visibility.

When to Pay Attention to Windy Conditions

Generally, windy conditions are not always dangerous. If you are driving and it gets windy, you need to take note of debris flying around. If you see objects such as leaves and small twigs, then it is more than likely still safe to go on driving. The problem arises when the flying objects increase in size. If the wind is of high intensity, then the safest thing to do is to get off the road and wait it out.

You should also note whether this is a tailwind, crosswind or headwind. With a tailwind, you could still keep driving as it merely serves as a propeller, helping you move forward. However, a headwind puts you in a situation where you are driving against a force, and this could quickly become a dangerous situation. Crosswinds come from different directions and disappear often. If you are not prepared, you can get sucked into the side of the road or unto the other lane whenever an object appears that blocks the crosswind.

Stormy Weather Photo

Tips for Driving in Windy Conditions

The more experience you have driving in adverse conditions, the better equipped you will be to drive safely. That said, there are a few tips that can help you drive in windy conditions.

  • Make sure you select the best route for the weather conditions you are expecting. Some roads may have natural wind or weather breaks.
  • Drive slowly. As previously mentioned, windy weather can be unpredictable, and going slowly will help you adjust to any changes.
  • Learn how to hold your steering wheel for greater balance. One opinion suggests that the 11 and 1 o’clock position helps to balance out the pressure and keep your hand steady.
  • Listen to the local weather report and find a spot to park if there is a chance that the wind could get worse.
  • Learn to assess risk appropriately. Keep enough space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
  • Be careful when passing high side trucks, busses, and motorcycles. They are subject to wind blowing them sideways.

Without a doubt, weather conditions can seriously impact on your driving and safety. It is important to learn how to drive safely in such situations. A Chicago car accident lawyer suggests carrying the right type of liability insurance in case of accident or injury. What tips do you have for motorists caught in windy conditions?

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