How to Handle Trucks, SUVs and other Large Vehicles in Windy Weather
The cold, dreary winter is right around the corner and although this season is most known for its snow and ice, it can also be a season when winds really begin to pick up and blow very hard. Driving in windy weather poses a special challenge for those of us who drive large vehicles, such as trucks, Sport Utility Vehicles, and even large vans. While the wind can make driving more difficult, there are some easy safety tips you can follow to help keep you in control when operating a large vehicle on windy days.
Know What the Weather Holds before Heading Out
One of the first things you can do to help keep you safe on the road during windy days is being prepared ahead of time. Make sure to check weather conditions before leaving for any trip – by knowing what lies ahead it will be easier to prepare for the weather conditions. If the day is supposed to be especially windy, consider postponing the trip or taking a smaller vehicle. Unless the trip is an emergency or absolutely necessary, it is always safer to stay at home when the weather is not ideal for traveling.
Keep a Safe Following Distance
If you are out on the road in a large vehicle during a windy period, it is important to keep a safe following distance behind other cars. Leaving some extra space between vehicles will give you extra time to make corrections if a strong gust of wind does blow you off course. This is especially important for 18-wheel truck drivers – while many times trucks will use each other’s draft to help ease travel, doing so during a wind storm is very dangerous and ample space should be left on all sides of the truck.
Do Not Speed
Strong winds are most commonly followed by strong storms. While it may seem normal to speed up and hurry to your destination or back home to outrun a storm, this is a very unsafe practice when winds are high. Driving at higher speeds will put you at a higher risk for an accident because it reduces the time you have to react to sudden situation. When a hard gust of wind is added to the equation, it can make your time for reaction even less and can even “push” the vehicle into another car or road obstacle.
Driving during any inclement weather can be a challenge, but driving a larger car on a windy day poses a challenge that many drivers do not normally think about. Since large vehicles have a higher center of gravity, they are more likely to be affected by the wind than other vehicles that are lower to the ground. While not traveling during this weather is the most effective safety measure, knowing the conditions, slowing down and leaving enough following distance are other ways to help keep you on track.
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*Photo Courtesy of Born1945 via Creative Commons License