Winter weather often means extreme driving conditions, and this season has already seen drivers having to deal with high winds. Scotland was hit by gales that reached 165mph in places, and led to the closing of roads and bridges – and hazardous driving conditions.
Comprehensive car Insurance covers you in the event of an accident whatever the weather or driving conditions, but it’s worth taking extra precautions to make sure your journey’s a safe one:
Check the weather forecast
Winter has come late after a mild spell in autumn, so the cold weather has taken everyone by surprise. If you’re planning a journey, check for ice, wind, snow and severe weather warnings. In recent gale-force winds, drivers of high-sided vehicles were warned to stay off the road.
Expect the unexpected
Be particularly careful when emerging from between buildings, crossing bridges or on coastal roads as you may be hit by sudden gusts of wind.
Get ready to react
In windy weather it’s more important than ever to keep both hands on the steering wheel, with a firm grip. Keep your speed low, too, as a sudden gust of wind could push you off the road or into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Keep your distance
Leave extra room between you and other cars, motorbikes and cyclists. High-sided vehicles, in particular, are vulnerable to being blown off-course in windy weather, so take care when you’re travelling alongside and weigh up carefully if it’s really worth overtaking.
Watch out for rain
Strong winds cause enough problems, but are often accompanied by heavy rain. If you’ve ever driven in horizontal rain, you’ll know how hard it is. Visibility can often be poor and it’s difficult to see where water might have accumulated on the road ahead. Watch out for large puddles or floodwater – if in doubt, don’t try to drive along a flooded road. At best, hitting a large pool of water can flood the engine and cause expensive damage to your car and at worst it can be a real danger to your safety.
Look out for debris
High winds will inevitably cause some trees or branches to fall, so keep your speed low unless you can see what’s ahead. Take particular care in the early hours of the morning, when it’s dark and roads haven’t been used or cleared yet.
Don’t drive unless you have to
Is your journey really necessary? If it’s not, the best advice is to stay at home until the extreme driving conditions have passed and it’s safe to set off.