In the last several years, we’ve seen increasingly erratic weather behavior. This year’s nor’easters are the latest examples, and if you’ve ever had to drive in such intense weather conditions, you know it can be a challenge.
Keeping track of other drivers through the rain and sleet, and counter steering when big winds pick up is enough to many anyone nervous. Modern cars are relatively resilient, but there are still some things you should know to ensure your ride remains unblemished in the face of inclement weather.
Have a Safe Parking Spot
What constitutes a safe place that thieves won’t take notice doesn’t necessarily keep your windshield from being blown out. In a hurricane or cyclone, flying debris can damage your car even when it’s tucked into a discreet corner. The best place to keep it safe is inside of a garage with a weather-resistant reinforced door.
You might also hear these doors called “hurricane resistant” or “wind resistant” garage doors. Unlike your typical garage door, they’re designed to withstand winds of up to 200mph. That makes them qualified to withstand a category five hurricane.
But what if you have to go out in the wind? How can you make it safe for yourself and others on the road?
Driving in Heavy Wind
As with many weather conditions, driving safely in heavy winds is all about respecting the space of others on the road. For example, Semi trucks will effectively become enormous sails in the wind, so give them a wide berth.
Side winds are the most difficult to deal with. You will want to steer into the wind, but don’t make any sudden inputs. Be smooth and drive slower than you usually would so that you have time to react to any sudden changes in the situation.
Driving with a headwind or tailwind is less challenging than driving into a side wind. You might notice slight variations in the car’s speed, but you won’t be jockeyed left and right on the road quite as much.
In any heavy wind conditions, you will want to keep a firm grip on the wheel. A gust of wind can jerk the wheel out of your hands if you’re not paying attention and that can have negative consequences.
Other Tips for Car Safety in a Storm
Make sure your car is equipped with fresh tires and wiper blades if you live in an area that gets frequent weather. Also, if your vehicle uses slick high-performance tires, you may want to swap them out for more heavily siped all-weather tires.
If you live near the water, do not park your car on the sand! It might sound like a dumb thing to do, but for the owner of one Honda Prelude buried by hurricane Harvey, it could have made the difference in getting his car back. Instead, choose a reasonable place indoors to park, or at least move it away from the beachfront.
Do you have any stories about driving or parking in nasty weather? Let us know in the comments!