High winds wreaks havoc with drivers
I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow…well, you know the rest. It’s been pretty windy here lately and that wreaks havoc with drivers and pedestrians alike. Any time high winds are in the forecast we need to travel with more care. Do you drive differently during high winds?
With the winds recently traveling up to 100 km/h (60 mph) it downed trees and power lines across the area. In one severe situation, a tree landed on a vehicle and killed the driver. http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4188332-falling-tree-crushes-car-kills-port-colborne-woman/ That was such a tragedy, but what can we do as drivers to protect ourselves in such severe conditions?
The best advice it to remember you can just park your vehicle and take cover inside a building. If there’s really no reason to drive; don’t. Sitting in your parked vehicle is dangerous as the driver mentioned earlier in this article had done. If you’re driving and the winds increase significantly, head toward an open area, such as a mall parking lot, park your vehicle and head inside. Avoid sitting under bridges as the winds can become quite unpredictable there. If the winds have broken a lot of small branches and they’ve been thrown across the road, the larger branches or full trees could be next.
As you head to safety, keep your speed reduced. Higher speeds and high gusty winds could cause you to be blown off the road. Also keep both hands on the steering wheel as that will help you maintain control of your vehicle as you fight against the windy conditions. Having one hand on the wheel greatly increases the chance of loss of control. Those high winds will be pushing up against the side of your vehicle which would easily cause your vehicle to drift side to side and perhaps leave your lane if you have only one hand on the steering wheel.
Do your best and avoid having another vehicle, especially a larger vehicle like a bus or truck or even someone pulling a trailer sit beside you as you head for cover. If a strong gust of wind hits against the side of that vehicle, it will drift toward you quite quickly. If you drift toward them because of the high winds, you could also crash into each other. Driving in a staggered formation will help protect you and your vehicle until you can safely get off the road.
Finally; keep your focus. Turn off the radio and avoid talking with passengers as these may lead you to become distracted. Pay attention to your driving until you can reach that safe destination. Driving at all times means you need to stay focused on what you’re doing but driving in this type of adverse condition, you’ll need to step it up.