What wind speed is dangerous in the UK? How to stay safe while driving | The Sun

DRIVING in windy weather can be a daunting and hazardous task for road users across the UK.

Therefore, it's important to know what wind speed is considered dangerous and how to stay safe when driving in windy weather conditions.

What is a strong wind speed?

According to the National Service, driving conditions can become difficult and potentially dangerous when wind reaches speeds of 30-45 mph.

Once speeds go above this, the fall risk of items such as branches, telephone lines and trees is significantly increased.

According to the AA, once wind speed exceeds 45 mph, it is more dangerous to drive and therefore recommended to avoid using your vehicle if possible.

The Met Office will usually issue weather warnings as far in advance as possible, and National Highways can alert drivers of any disruption or delays weather conditions might cause on the road.

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Road signs are also used to warn of possible strong winds – these can be displayed on electronic or fixed roadside signs.

What happens when you drive during strong winds?

Should you need to drive in strong winds, it's important to be aware of what can happen.

When driving in strong winds, motorists may experiences their vehicle shake.

According to Rule 233 of the Highway Code: ''In very windy weather your vehicle may be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles. 

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''Motorcyclists are particularly affected, so keep well back from them when they are overtaking a high-sided vehicle.''

It's also important to note that wind is worse on exposed stretches of road and sudden gusts of wind are likely when passing tall buildings in urban areas.

These conditions are unpredictable and challenging, but there are things you can do to stay safe on the road. 

How to stay safe while driving in high winds

There are a number of tips to keep in mind in order to stay safe when driving in high and strong winds.

Drivers are advised to keep both hands on the wheel firmly to provide extra control and to prepare for any stronger winds that may be on the way.

Motorist's should also pay attention to the speed when driving in high or strong winds.

The AA advises driver's to keep there speed down to minimise the impact of wind gusts, to take care and to leave extra room for motorcyclists and cyclists – it's important to not only keep yourself safe, but also other road users.

Other tips to stay safe when driving in high and strong winds include the following:

  • Avoid overtaking
  • Keep your distance from other vehicles – especially high-sided vehicles and caravans
  • Avoid towing
  • Don't take your roof box with you – leave it at home as this can increase the impact of crosswinds on your vehicle
  • Be vigilant and look out for debris in the road – if you spot twigs or small branches on your journey, this could indicate that a tree or branch my be in the way around the next bend
  • Plan ahead
  • Keep an eye out for hanging trees
  • Keep to main roads
  • Park safely to avoid damage and danger – try not to park near or under trees, telephone wires or poles that could be at risk of falling on your car
  • If your vehicle is susceptible to strong-wind conditions, consider delaying your journey until weather conditions improve if you can


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According to the National Highways, vehicles that are vulnerable during strong winds include, motorhomes, car transporters, double decker buses and vans.

Also included on the list are articulated HGVs (empty or full), high-sided rigid HGVs (empty or full), vehicles towing trailers or caravans, abnormal loads, tippers, transit vans with modifications and motorcycles.

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