5:00 PM 21st January 2024
Warning Of Extreme Strong Winds On UK Motorways
credit National Highways
As we brace ourselves for a few days of tumultuous weather, over 20,000 people take to Flight Radar to watch flights attempting to land as strong winds hit Dublin Airport. It's crucial for drivers who do land, to understand the risks posed by strong winds, especially when navigating the country's motorways.
Dom Watt, from First Vehicle Leasing, shares his essential advice on staying safe during windy conditions and reminds drivers of the potential fines and penalties for not adhering to safety protocols.
The Risks of Strong Winds on the Road
Strong winds are not just uncomfortable; they are a hazard. They can destabilise vehicles, reduce a driver's control, and increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly on open stretches of road like motorways. High-sided vehicles, motorcycles, and even family cars are susceptible to sudden gusts, which can lead to devastating consequences.
Dom Watt's Top Tips for Staying Safe
Reduce Speed: High speeds make it difficult to control your vehicle during sudden gusts. Reducing speed not only gives you more time to react but also ensures that if a gust hits, the impact on the vehicle is minimised.
Increase Distance: Keeping a generous distance from the vehicle in front allows you more time to react if they encounter difficulties. Remember, it's not just about your vehicle handling the wind, but also about being prepared for how other vehicles respond.
Firm Grip on the Steering Wheel: Expect the unexpected. Keep both hands firmly on the wheel to maintain control during sudden gusts.
Be Mindful of Vulnerable Road Users: Cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians can be significantly affected by strong winds. Give them plenty of room, as they may be suddenly blown off course.
Plan Your Journey: Before setting off, check the weather forecast. If strong winds are predicted, consider delaying your trip or choosing a route that is less exposed to the elements.
Understand Your Vehicle: High-sided vehicles and those towing caravans or trailers are more affected by windy conditions. If you're driving one, be extra cautious and consider avoiding motorways if the winds are particularly strong.
Legal Implications and Fines
Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay
Ignoring weather warnings and driving recklessly in poor conditions can lead to more than just a tense journey; it can result in hefty fines and points on your licence. For instance, driving too fast for the conditions, even if within the speed limit, can be classified as careless driving, which carries a fine of up to £5,000 and nine points on your licence.
Moreover, causing an obstruction or a hazard due to poor vehicle control can lead to prosecution. It's not just about the fines; it's about the safety of all road users. The law expects drivers to adapt their driving to suit the conditions, and failure to do so can have serious legal consequences.
Dom Watt, from First Vehicle Leasing says:
"Strong winds are a formidable force on the roads, but with careful planning, vigilance, and adherence to safety advice, drivers can significantly reduce the risks. Remember: reduce speed, increase distance, maintain control, and be considerate of other road users."
Information supplied by First Vehicle Leasing