Driving in Windy Conditions
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We’re no strangers to the forever changing weather conditions in Alberta, especially during the winter months. But although most drivers exercise caution when driving on snowy roads, or during heavy rain storms, many are still unaware of the dangers posed by driving through strong wind storms.
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Proactive tips to deal with driving on windy roads:
- Reduce your speed. Slowing down gives you better control over the vehicle and will give you more time to react in the event your vehicle gets hit by a strong gust of wind.
- Maintain a firm 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock hand position on the steering wheel. Strong wind gusts are unpredictable, and if not holding the wheel properly, gusts can be strong enough to cause the steering wheel to be jerked out of your hands.
- Look well ahead and watch for any debris on the road. High winds can cause debris to litter the highway or can even throw debris directly into your path. By looking ahead you give yourself more time to react to road hazards.
- Be alert to deal with harsher road conditions. Strong winds can be an indication of other adverse weather further up the road. Be proactive and check road conditions before leaving and listen to local weather updates on your radio.
- When driving in windy, rainy weather, avoid using cruise control so you can maintain maximum control of the gas pedal for when unpredictable gusts of wind occur.
- Larger vehicles have a much more difficult time driving in wind than smaller vehicles do. This is due to an increase in surface area for the wind to push on, increasing the difficulty of handling these types of vehicles. So use extra caution and leave more space between yourself and a larger vehicle.
- Keep a longer following distance from large vehicles to avoid a possible collision from the side; never drive in lanes adjacent to larger vehicles in high winds.
- Be proactive and wait for the storm to blow over. If you're driving a larger vehicle with a high surface area or are driving a van, pick-up truck with canopy, or are pulling a trailer, and you encounter a high wind storm, it’s safest to pull over and take a break.