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How to drive safely in high winds

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It is not uncommon to feel uncomfortable driving in strong winds. These conditions are unpredictable and challenging, but there are things you can do to stay safe on the road. 

What to do before driving in high winds

Check the weather. See what conditions are forecast and if any weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office. If high winds are forecast during your planned drive, it might be sensible to hold off on your trip. If there are extreme conditions forecast then follow the advice relevant to your journey. 

Driving in the wind

Keep both hands on the steering wheel to give you extra control. Watch your speed, the slower you go the less chance there is that you will be knocked off course by sudden gusts of wind. Leave extra room between your vehicle and others on the road. This also applies to those on bikes and motorbikes. 

Keep your distance from high sided vehicles such as a lorry. Your vehicle is most likely to be affected by side winds on open and exposed roads and when passing high sided vehicles. These types of vehicles can also cause sudden cross winds which could suddenly blow you off course. Don't tow trailers or caravans if possible. 

High winds can lead to debris on the roads, as well as fallen trees or other hazards. These things happen quickly and may not have been reported yet, so always be mindful of potential hazards on the road. 

How windy is too windy to drive? 

Wind speeds of over 30 miles per hour are considered to be dangerous wind speeds for drivers. For a yellow wind warning to be announced by the Met Office, wind speeds must be 40 miles per hour or over. 

Can I drive in high winds on the motorway?

Driving on the motorway during high winds can be more dangerous. This is because the faster you are driving the more sudden gusts and strong winds can affect your manoeuvrability. 

If you are driving on the motorway in high winds, it is important to slow down so you can have more control over your vehicle. In severe conditions when wind speeds are over 30 miles per hour, you should try to avoid driving on the motorway. 

Check bridge restrictions and plan ahead

If your journey includes crossing any bridges, check our traffic info map and use our 'bridge restrictions' filter to ensure there are no closures on your route. 

Get up-to-date information 

Visit the Met Office website for the up-to-date guidance on weather conditions and visit our traffic info map to check your journey ahead of time.