Windy conditions can often strike without warning, and it doesn’t have to be pouring with rain for the wind to pick up – spring and summer can often bring blustery conditions too, so it’s best to be ready for windy driving any time of year.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to prepare both yourself and your vehicle for windy weather, to get you safely to your destination.
Before you set off
Preparing to drive in windy weather should start long before you get in the car. If you know that the weather is going to be rough, make sure that you’re aware of any potential disruptions. Listen to local radio stations to keep up to date with any road closures, heavy traffic, or delays.
It’s also wise to plan your route, avoiding exposed or high roads if possible. Open stretches, bridges, and hedge gaps can leave you exposed to sudden gusts of wind that can blow you off course or cause other vehicles to swerve into your path, so sheltered routes are the safer choice.
Prepare your vehicle
To be ready for any conditions, whether it’s sun, rain, or wind, you should be regularly making sure that your car is running smoothly. If you want the peace of mind that everything is working as it should, pop into your local Halfords store or garage for a 10 Point Car Check. Our expert technicians will perform vital checks to ensure your car is ready for whatever journey lies ahead, for just £15. Or, if you’re a member of the halfords motoring club, you could get a car check for free. Not signed up yet? Find all the benefits and how to join here.
High winds can blow around a lot of debris, some of which may hit your windscreen. If you’ve already got a chip in the glass, then you’ll be more vulnerable to a crack with any sudden impacts. That’s why it’s best to get any chips repaired straight away. With our Windscreen Chip Repair Service, we can mend any pesky chips before they cause real damage. Book in at your local store or let our mobile fitting service come to you!
It’s always best to be prepared for any eventuality, so keeping your car well-stocked with anything you might need if you break down or need to pull over is key. Warm clothes, blankets, water, and a torch will all be useful if you need to stop, and a portable phone charger will make sure you’re not stranded without a way to contact a recovery service.
If the wind is extreme, then it’s not advisable to have a roof box on top of your car, as this will increase your susceptibility to crosswinds. However, if you need to travel with a roof box, make sure that it’s tied down as securely as possible, and that it’s closed properly to avoid the wind lifting the lid.
Take sensible precautions
To ensure your journey is safe, you should take necessary precautions when driving. The most important of these is to slow down – your car’s braking and handling will be significantly affected by high winds, and particularly by unexpected gusts. By taking it slowly, you’ll have a better chance of anticipating these gusts and reducing the impact they have on your driving. Plus, driving at a sensible speed will give you more time to see and react to any debris that’s been blown onto the road, helping you to avoid any collisions.
It’s also sensible to keep a greater distance between you and other drivers. This is especially important for driving near cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries, and buses. These vehicles are all more likely to be affected by side winds, so leaving a bigger gap will give them and you more room to react to the conditions.
Overtaking is another element to approach cautiously in windy weather. That’s not to say that you should never overtake, but just be more cautious if you do. This is especially important for overtaking a large vehicle with high sides – passing larger vehicles can cause a sudden gust of wind as you clear them, buffeting you from the side. Stay alert when overtaking and get a firm grip of the wheel to react when necessary.
Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll want to find somewhere safe to park your car to avoid it getting damaged. To steer clear of falling branches and other debris, try and avoid parking under trees, telephone lines or other structures that might be vulnerable to high winds.
It’s also wise to avoid overly exposed areas, since your car will have nothing to shield it from anything dislodged by the wind such as roof tiles and branches. If you have one, the best solution is to park your car in a garage. If you don’t have one, or aren’t at home, then look for a place that’s well sheltered but without overhanging threats. This will give your vehicle as much protection as possible.
If the worst happens and some debris does damage your vehicle, we’re here to help. At Halfords, we’ve got everything you need to undertake simple body repairs.
If a wayward trolley or falling branch scratches your paintwork, we know you’ll be eager to restore your car to its former glory. We’ve got a wide range of scratch repair and paint restorers to gently remove any light or medium damage and bring back the shine. We even have a handy video guide to walk you through the process.
As for bigger dents, you might need to turn to fillers to repair the damage. We’ve got a whole range of these too, from brands like Isopon and T-Cut, alongside our trusted Halfords range. No matter what type of bodywork repairs you’re carrying out, Halfords is here to lend a hand.
If you follow this advice, you should be able to safely navigate any windy conditions thrown your way, whether it’s January or July.
But, if you do get caught out by the wind, we’re here to help. Head over to Halfords.com to explore our full range of products and services to get you safely back on the road again