Driving a Van in Strong Winds – Our Ten Top Tips
- Created: 22 February 2022
The recent weather phenomenon of three storms hitting the UK in just a few days is a reminder to us all that so-called freak weather conditions are now less freaky and something we should all prepare for in our everyday lives.
Storms Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin formed a "cluster" of bad weather which struck right across the UK. Record-breaking wind gusts and torrential rainfall brought danger to life and multiple red warnings from the Met Office.
Our advice would always be to stay home if you can when high winds affect travel, especially if you are driving a larger van, but we understand that some people have to go out in such conditions and sometimes changes in the weather can occur quickly and unexpectedly.
Top tips for driving a van in high winds
- Plan ahead: check the weather forecast, see if you could start your journey earlier or later to avoid high winds.
- Use main roads whenever you can: rural roads may be blocked by debris and there could be danger to life from falling trees.
- Be aware of flying debris: branches and other debris blown about in high winds can cause danger to life if it strikes your van.
- Keep your speed down: and stay focused on the road ahead.
- Stay in control: keep two hands on the steering wheel in the ten to two position as strong gusts can cause your van to shake and swerve.
- Be prepared for side winds: going past gaps in trees and buildings, and going across bridges, are danger points for van drivers.
- Make room: in gusty conditions, you should make sure there is room on either side of your vehicle in case it is blown sideways – give other road users plenty of room.
- Watch out for high-sided vehicles: larger vehicles can create side winds when they overtake. Leave plenty of room when you overtake a high-sided vehicle.
- Look out for roadside warning signs: National Highways (formerly Highways England) uses fixed and electronic signs (and occasionally wind socks) to warn of possible high winds and side winds.
- Be ready for road closures: National Highways may close certain roads for certain types of vehicles in windy conditions.
High-sided vehicles, such as box vans and modified transit vans, are vulnerable in high winds, particularly when they are empty.
Van drivers are vulnerable in high winds
At least three people who were travelling in vans during the recent storms have died and another is seriously injured.
Your van insurance can help to pay for repairs to your vehicle if you suffer an accident, but it can't turn back the clock to prevent physical injury and harm.
High winds are dangerous for van drivers.