Living in a shore community, we often see high winds all year around. However, this time of year tends to bring even higher winds, often 25mph or stronger, that can be challenging for even a seasoned driver. This condition is something many new teen drivers have never faced and it can be quite intimidating and scary to feel your car literally being pushed when a big gust of wind hits the side of the vehicle.
Because we live close to the ocean, there is also the danger of splashing water and flooding on the roads. This is especially true when driving over bridges or on causeways during high tide. We have put together a few tips to make you more aware of what can happen while driving during windy conditions as well as how to deal with these problems.
• You can be blown off course – when an unexpected gust of winds comes along, it can feel as though the side of the car is actually being hit by something. This is not only alarming, but can also cause you to be blown off course. Be sure to keep both hands on the wheel at all times as well as lowering your speed. When you are traveling faster, you have less time to react to sudden path changes.
• Be aware of other vehicles being blown off course – while you may be able to control your car in high winds, you cannot control how other drivers handle these same conditions. Make note of any larger vehicles traveling around you, such as trucks or RVs, as they are more susceptible to these conditions. Also, be aware of any cyclists and motorcycles on the road, as large gusts can push them into your path without warning.
• Excessive debris on the roads – when the winds kick up, trees and power lines often fall. In addition to these hazards, trash on the side of the roads will be blown around. You must stay alert for not only hazards on the road, but also hazards that may be airborne.
Obviously, if you are not used to driving in these conditions, you are better served to wait until they pass before heading out. However, if you are on the road, be sure to stay alert and remain focused on driving and nothing else. In addition, check to make sure your emergency kit is ready as well as making sure your phone is fully charged in case you need to call for assistance while out on the road.
*Photo Courtesy of Michael Mol via Creative Commons License