Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
9:42 AM 2nd November 2023

How To Drive Safely In High Winds

Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash
Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash
Drivers have been told how to navigate the roads safely during high winds and bad weather, as Storm Ciaran is set to batter the UK.

Motoring experts from have issued ten top tips to help UK drivers battle stormy conditions on the roads.

A firm grip on the wheel, increased following distance and smart parking are all required during windy weather.

Other advice for Brits taking their vehicles out in high winds includes to allow additional time to complete their journeys, to consider vulnerable road users, to transport goods wisely and to anticipate potential sudden gusts.

Tim Alcock from said:
“Drivers typically take precautions when the roads are icy, snowy, wet or the sun is dazzling – it’s equally necessary to think ahead when it’s windy though.

“If you must travel during a storm, the first thing to do is reduce your speed, hold the wheel a bit tighter and try to stay as alert as possible.

“Of course, if conditions become too difficult, you should delay your journey until they improve.”

Here are ten tips for driving in windy weather:

1. Grip the wheel firmly

Holding the steering wheel tightly with both hands increases a driver’s level of control and ability to react in windy weather, especially if you're in a more vulnerable vehicle.

2. Anticipate sudden changes

Certain areas on the roads can be particularly prone to the wind, including large, high or exposed bridges, flyovers and viaducts – consider an alternative route, if possible.

Other sports to be extra vigilant in include valleys, on wide open roads dual carriageways surrounded by flat fields, and when approaching gaps in rows of trees or tall buildings.

3. Increase following distances

Ensuring you allow a longer gap between yourself and the vehicle driving in front of you during stormy weather should allow for increased stopping distances and reaction times.

4. Slow down

Travelling at a faster speed increases your vulnerability to high winds, as less of an impact is needed to risk wobbling or other effects on your vehicle.

Slowing down also allows more time to react to debris that could blow in to your path, whilst turns and corners should be taken much slower to to avoid being knocked off course.

5. Pack luggage wisely

Roof boxes and trailers should be removed wherever possible during stormy weather, to reduce the surface area of the vehicle and therefore reduce susceptibility to cross winds in particular.

Heavier vehicles are generally harder for high winds to impact though, so goods that are instead carried in the boot of a car or rear of a van could actually help improve stability.

6. Pay attention to warnings

Motorists should always check local weather forecasts online before starting a journey in case any potentially troubling conditions have been predicted or official weather warnings issued.

Whilst driving, keep an eye out for fixed signs that warn of areas prone to high winds and for any digital signs on motorways that warn of possible problems.

7. Consider other road users

Give a wide berth to vulnerable vehicles that may struggle to stay in their lanes in windy conditions, including large high sided lorries and caravans or other trailers.

Drivers should allow more room for motorcyclists and when passing regular cyclists than usual too, as well as staying well away from the curb in areas crowded with pedestrians.

8. Don’t park under trees

When parking up during a storm, it’s vital to carefully assess your surroundings for anything that could fall and damage your vehicle.

Drivers should steer clear of any parking spots that are directly beneath trees, scaffolding, phone poles or similar. Make sure your handbrake is in good working order before leaving your car or van too.

9. Allow extra time

Any drivers getting behind the wheel in windy conditions should allow additional time to complete their journey, in case they encounter road or lane closures, diversions, obstructions, reduced speed limits, emergency works, or potential accidents or crashes.

10. Pull over if necessary

Just as with any other extreme conditions on the roads, if windy or stormy weather becomes too risky or dangerous, drivers should pull over, turn the engine off and wait for an improvement.

To find out more about driving through high winds, head over to