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Monday, April 22, 2024
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Driving Under Windy Conditions

3 min read
Strong winds can be a problem for anyone on the roads. Here are some tips to ensure your safety as a driver.

While we are generally safe from the extreme weather conditions in Singapore, but we may also encounter unexpected conditions that could interfere with our day-to-day commute. A gentle breeze is always welcoming in the hot and humid Singapore, but strong gusts of wind can affect a number of things on the roads. These are some of the things to look out for and how you ought to respond.

Effect on large vehicles
The effects of high winds can cause a number of problems for motorists.
If the wind is strong enough, it can affect even large commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses. Vehicles such as trailers and tow trucks don’t have any motor on their own as they are being pulled by the truck in front, so when a strong wind blows, these may start swaying side to side. Vehicles transporting materials may start spewing material, such as sand, onto the road and make itmore slippery or hazardous. Do not follow too closely behind the vehicleandavoid abrupt actions, such as rash overtaking. Maintain a steady speed and a safe distance from these vehicles, and keep a firm grip on your steering wheel. If there are enough lanes, keep a lane apart so that there’s room to manoeuvre, if necessary.

The wind will also affect your car; particularly strong gusts which can reduce traction with the roads as they ‘lift’ your car. If the wind becomes too strong and you feel like you are losing control of your car, pull over to somewhere safe and wait for the weather to settle.

Turning around the bend 
When you are negotiating turns and corners, windy conditions will make these drives even more challenging. Strong winds may cause motorcyclists to lose stability easily, or cause motorists to take a wider turn than expected. Stay safe by keeping to a slow, steady speed, and try to maintain some distance from the other vehicles.

Falling trees
With the number of tree-lined roads here, trees getting uprooted and branches breaking are dangerous possibilities during windy conditions. If you can, try travelling in the middle lanes, which are further from the trees by the road. Keep to a slow steady speed so you can effectively react to falling branches. Winds can be highly erratic, so be extra alert, keep your headlights on, and maintain a fair distance from any vehicle in case there’s a need for emergency braking.

In built-up areas, such as residential areas, look out for pedestrians, especially children, who may be more susceptible to being thrown off-balance by strong winds.

When you are parking in open areas, avoid parking under trees, lampposts or power lines. The last thing you need is coming back to a wrecked car!

If the forecast is for extended windy conditions, plan your route to avoid areas with lots of trees. If these areas are unavoidable, drive slower than normal, stay alert, and keep a level head.