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Driving in strong winds - sudden gusts can catch out even the most experienced driver

Driving Tips

The Facts

  • High winds are an overlooked danger to drivers and cause many accidents on our roads. High winds are usually defined as sustained winds of at least 40 mph or gusts over 58 mph. They cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles as they can be pushed off the road [2]
  • The strongest ever winds in the UK have been recorded on mountains, the strongest ever gust was 150.3 knots (173 mph) recorded at Cairngorm Summit on 20 March 1986. However, some very strong gusts have been recorded at low levels too - these were mostly along exposed coastal areas [2]
  • The Met Office will warn the public and emergency responders of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause danger to life or widespread disruption through our National Severe Weather Warning Service

The Advice

  1. Avoid roads with lots of trees such as country roads; choose a sheltered route
  2. Throughout the journey, ensure you have a tight grip on the steering wheel. Your vehicle may move with large gusts which can travel under the vehicle and affect handling without warning
  3. Keep well back from vehicles ahead, especially high-sided vehicles
  4. Only overtake if necessary making sure you give cyclists, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles more space than usual
  5. Keep an eye out for hazards on the roads such as branches and other debris

[2] Met Office, September 2015




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