by

Driving tips

Driving in storms and high winds

If you told an American what happens in the UK when we get a bit of a storm, they'd laugh you out of town.

Yup, our little blusters are nothing next to the kind of hurricanes much of the rest of the world experience, but they are dangerous.

If there are severe weather warnings, the best way to stay out of danger is to stay off the road. That's not always possible but do ask yourself if it's worth getting into a scary situation.

If there's no severe alert but the wind is still pretty high, here's how to drive in bad weather.

The dangers you might meet in a storm:

  1. Fallen trees across the road

    If you're in rural areas, make sure you're driving slowly enough that you could stop if there was a tree in the road. It's also unfortunately likely that you could suddenly come upon a crash, so just take it easy.

  2. Traffic lights out

    As we've seen before, when the lights go out humans do tend to cope quite well using this old fashioned system called common sense.

    That said, if you're a new driver it can be pretty unnerving to come to a crossroads with no lights. The key is eye contact with other drivers - they might flash you to tell you to go ahead but you can also judge what they're going to do by the way they're turning their heads.

  3. Gusts affecting your control

    On the motorway - often windier because it's so open - overtaking high sided lorries can be dangerous because you'll be hit by a big gust of wind when you clear the front, which can blow you off course.

    Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to stay in control of your car.

  4. High-sided lorries or buses tipping

    These guys often look like they're about to tip over in normal weather and it's a very real danger in unusually high winds.

    If a tall vehicle is making you feel a bit nervous, keep your distance. Your instinct could be right.

  5. Cyclists blown sideways

    If a particularly strong gust of wind hits a cyclist or motorbike rider, they can be blown into your path very easily. Take extra care around them in windy weather and only overtake if you can give them a lot of room.

  6. Flooding

    We should be used to this one but we're always amazed at how quickly the water can rise. Going through deep water is really not great for your car and you can never be sure how deep it is.

    We all saw the pictures of cars floating down the highstreet after St Jude's storm in 2013. Don't underestimate how bad it can get.

    If you really have to drive in bad weather, make sure you have an alternative route in case yours is blocked. Park on higher ground if you know your area is a flood zone, just to be sure.

    After driving through water, test your brakes by pressing them very lightly Get more tips for driving through floods.

By

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .