Winter is coming – Part Three: Wind

The windy season is on us with a vengeance. There is nothing worse than the feeling in the pit of your stomach as your car gets buffeted sideways by a sudden gust.
Momentarily, you are out of control.
Actually, there is something worse. That is overtaking a lorry when suddenly it gets caught in the crosswind and drifts towards your car.
There are, though, some things you can do to make your journey a little safer.

Do You Need To Go?
Ask yourself that important question, do you really need to complete the journey in such conditions? The answer, usually, is no, so put it off.
It is strange, but we would readily postpone a journey if snow is on the road, but continue as normal when there are gusts of 80 or 90 mph, not even adjusting our driving style.

Allow Longer
As is the case with almost all inclement weather conditions, allowing yourself more time for the journey makes it safer.
It is obvious, when we think about it, but travelling at 50 mph rather than seventy gives us more time to do everything.
If you are not in a rush, because you have allowed enough time, then the other bonus is that you can make safety based decisions without the pressure of being late.
As you drive down the dual carriageway, watching the lorry ahead swerving to the centre and then to the side barrier, rather than taking a deep breath and passing as wide as you can, risking your own safety if your car gets buffeted as it passes the bigger vehicle, you can just tuck in behind.

Plan Your Route
There is no doubt that different kinds of road give rise to different wind conditions. High bridges are, of course, the worse, especially the coastal ones, where the wind is usually strongest. It is no coincidence that the Forth Road Bridge, and Avon crossing are two of the places most often closed to vehicles.
But equally, A and B roads tend to receive less impact than dual carriageways and, especially, motorways. It is not hard to see why. Whilst your ordinary, single carriageway road is often protected by the verge, motorways frequently cross raised sections, and are much more open.
So, if you can avoid motorways, it will make your journey safer.

When the Wind Strikes
The best way of dealing with that horrible, gut wrenching moment is to take your foot off the accelerator, grip the wheel tightly, and brake if you have to.
Even better, though, is to avoid the wind in the first place.