Driving with Wind…

…And by the title of this piece we are not talking about the morning after eating a very hot takeaway either! Windy weather conditions can severely affect driving. Many drivers don’t always make the necessary precautions when setting out in windy weather. Although those windy days are not seen as being as dangerous as torrential rain or heavy snow fall- it does pay to take certain aspects into consideration.

You can’t ‘see’ wind but you certainly can see the devastation that it can leave behind- so it is important to be aware of those windy road conditions. 

Obviously any driving association will tell you to to not drive in gale force winds if you can help it. But if you do have to drive in it remember that no matter how hefty your car or larger vehicle is, that strong gust of wind can still push you off the roads. In worse cases causing fatalities.

To demonstrate how wind and speed affect your car, there is no better example than motorway driving. As any experienced driver will tell you: there is a huge difference between driving on those high speed roadways compared to the quieter country lanes. At fast speeds on a windy day your vehicle will automatically feel a lot lighter, you may even aquaplane (if the road conditions are wet). This puts you the driver in a very vulnerable position as you will not feel in control of the car.

But this can all depend on the direction of the wind and where you are driving. Some drivers will often compare driving ‘into’ the wind (rather than alongside it) like driving ‘with the handbrake on’. The resistance can often be so strong that your engine is barely able to cope as you drive. Smaller cars will often feel as though they are being lifted off the ground.

So it’s no surprise that wind and the physical qualities of air also play a huge part in the design of cars. Most of the vehicles that you see on the roads will have an element of aerodynamic design to them, even though your average Golf or Nissan will not look like a formula one racing car. Look closely at the curved shapes on the main body of the car and it will become clear that they are of a shape that will make them easier to drive.

Racing cars will nearly always be ‘flatter’ in shape, looking a little like a cigar with wings in many cases. This aero-dynamic design is scientifically proven to get to those higher speeds quicker while achieving better traction on the road surface than any other commercial car.

Wind tunnel experiments are carried out on new models to as to establish their efficiency when driving against wind. The more aero dynamically shaped your car is the less resistance you will encounter against the wind. This will mean that you will need less effort and energy to push your car forwards. Inevitably on an everyday basis you will not need as much fuel inevitably costing you less in the long term.

Windy weather conditions is a fact of life for all drivers at some  point in their driving career’s. So it will pay to know how to drive effectively and safely in those extreme weather conditions. Have a question about driving in the wind? Get in touch with your local Want Driving Lessons branch to enroll on our refresher course!

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