Driving in High Wind and Driving RainWhen you hear of an orange or red weather warning you are being warned to expect high winds and rain. With these weather conditions come disruption to traffic due to flooded roads and road closures because of falling trees and debris.
Vehicles can be and have been blown over in such weather conditions. The advice given by the HSA, the RSA and An Garda Siochana is only travel if it is necessary. Transport management personal are ultimately responsible for sending vehicles out in such conditions. HGV drivers are required to drive taking the weather conditions into account. There are no regulations regarding when high wind conditions warrant keeping large vehicles off the road. The current safety regulations require employers to take whatever steps necessary to protect the health and well-being of their workers. That includes deciding when it is unsafe to drive HGVs due to high winds
So here are a few tips to keep you and yours safe:
Expect that there will be delays so allow extra time to complete the journey. Roads can be closed due to falling trees and flooding
Spend additional time ensuring that your vehicle is full of fuel/Adblu/Screen Wash/ Engine oil and water. Spend extra time ensuring that your load is secured. Give all your lights, mirrors and reflective markings an additional cleaning prior to travelling.
Find out from met eireann (www.met.ie) the weather conditions in the areas that you will be travelling through on your trip.
Prepare for the worst. Make sure you have some supplies to keep you warm, nourished and hydrated in the event that you have to park up or encounter a significant traffic delay.
If you encounter a diversion make sure that your vehicle is suitable for the road you are being diverted onto. You should be aware of bridges that both go under and over railways on these routes. Ask a local or look at your map or check google.
Leaving aside the statutory requirements for maximum driver hours, recognise that driving in gale force conditions is stressful and exceptionally tiring.
So, plan in extra stops. Remember also that if you are taking ferries, you may just need some time after disembarkation to recover your sense of the judgment and balance.
Reducing speed will be required to reduce the effect of gusting when driving on roads that are exposed to wind.
Ensure that you extend your safe driving distance from the vehicle in front.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Gusting winds can be extremely strong and can move a vehicle off its course. Gusting winds will carry debris which can cause drivers to take evasive action.
Avoid running an empty curtainsider
If running an empty curtainsider, try to fold and secure the side curtains to one end of the body/trailer.
That will avoid them being caught by lateral winds and acting as a sail that might be perfectly capable of turning your vehicle over.
Professional Drivers will make an extra special effort to think of other road users.
Pedestrians, cyclists, mopeds, motor cycles, low-powered cars or those towing caravans and novice drivers, might all be struggling to cope with the winds at the same time you are. Remember that if you are passing them allow space for them to be blown off course. Remember when you are overtaking or being overtaken that the turbulence your vehicle creates will be significantly more in poor weather conditions, thereby making other road users job of staying stable even more difficult.
So, drive particularly considerately in such conditions and watch out for unexpected movements from other road users.
Keeping you speed down will keep road spray down allowing other road users a better view of the road.
Fridge Trailer Blown Off The Road Co. Donegal 2008
Curtainsider Blown Off Course Co. Kerry
Slowing Down Reduces Water Spray