Driving Safety During Strong Winds

Twister

This past weekend, the Portland area experienced strong winds causing accidents, power outages and other catastrophes.  Driving can be dangerous in windy conditions so it is important to use safety precautions on the road.  Expect sudden gusts at any time but particularly on open roads, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges or overtaking high-sided vehicles.

Always keep both hands on the steering wheel if you are caught in strong gusts of wind.  Make sure your speed is in check and slow down if strong winds occur.  The faster you’re traveling the further off-course you’re likely to drift in a sudden gust before you get the vehicle back under control.

High-sided vehicles and caravans are most affected by high winds and can easily be blown off course.  Keep your distance when driving around other vehicles and pay attention to cyclists and pedestrians around the roads.  If you break down on a busy roadway during windy conditions, other vehicles may veer onto the shoulder due to the strong winds.  Leave your vehicle put and move away from it to avoid being hit by other vehicles that may lose control in the wind.

Trees and other debris may be in the road during high winds.  Hitting debris and trees at a high rate of speed can cause an accident so keep your speed down and drive with caution when you encounter them on the road.  Where there are small branches on the road, there could easily be larger ones or a tree ahead.  Trees can also partially fall and hang above the road.  Sometimes they are difficult to spot at night so use caution when driving in the dark.

If you are able to stay off the road, that is your best way to stay safe in windy conditions.  In the event you must drive somewhere, make sure to plan your journey carefully and keep these safety tips in mind.