Driving in gale force wind

Wind-Blowing-through-the-fields

Another cold front is expected to affect the whole of South Africa over the next few days. Cape Town in particular has seen gale-force winds that reportedly blew a small truck over. If this is so, other trucks and even cars that are not as top-heavy may be facing some rough times on the roads.  

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says that unless it is an absolute necessity, drivers are well-advised to stay at home and avoid both the wind and expected rain. “Strong winds present a number of challenges for drivers. They can make staying on a straight course difficult, blow trees over and into the road, blow other debris into your path, and even cause challenges for pedestrians.  

“Strong gusts of wind can catch you by surprise, wind can also affect handling, braking and overtaking and large vehicles can struggle even more as they catch more wind. When you add these challenges to the windiest city in South Africa, be cautious before getting into your car. If staying off the roads, however, is not possible, follow these tips,”
says Herbert.  

  • Listen to the news or social media posts that could provide info on areas that are affected more than others.
  • Be cautious in areas that are particularly exposed or dangerous in high winds such as open stretches of roads, tunnels through mountainous areas or roads that run under powerlines.
  • Never drive over downed powerlines if you do encounter this.
  • Avoid crossing high, exposed bridges.
  • Look out for road signage warning drivers of areas vulnerable to strong winds.
  • Be alert for debris or larger items that could be blown into the road.
  • Be cautious of vehicles that are towing as they are susceptible to crosswinds.
  • Avoid overtaking trucks and larger vehicles.
  • Do not drive with an overloaded vehicle or with items protruding from the windows in strong winds.
  • If you are driving and the winds become so strong that you feel at risk, rather pull over or find a safe place to stop.

Ensure you drive defensively the entire trip.

“Defensive driving is your best strategy to emerge out of this dangerous situation safely. Be alert to the actions of other or obstacles created by the wind and drive in a manner that gives you plenty of space and time to react appropriately,” says Herbert.

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