High winds are an often-overlooked driving danger that can cause crashes. High winds are not unusual in Nevada, and extreme caution should be used when driving a car in high winds or any type of severe weather.
High Wind Driving Safety Tips
- Plan ahead. Leave extra time, as your drive may take longer due to the need to drive more slowly in high winds.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Slow your speed to a safe driving speed and turn on headlights if needed to account for potentially lower visibility created by blowing dust, sand, snow or rain.
- Keep your hands firmly on the wheel.
- Make steering corrections when driving from wind-protected areas to unprotected areas. The wind may suddenly move your car when traveling from a protected to unprotected area.
- Be aware of and maintain safe distances from other vehicles near you, particularly RVs, campers, trucks, buses, or trailers being towed. These vehicles could swing out and hit your car in sudden wind gusts.
- Take extra care in a high-profile vehicle such as trucks, vans, SUVs, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to being pushed or flipped by high winds. NDOT maintains wind warnings systems for high-profile vehicles in wind-prone areas such as the Hoover Dam bypass bridge in southern Nevada and U.S. 395/Washoe-Pleasant Valley in northern Nevada. Drivers of high profile vehicles must obey these wind warnings and prohibitions when in effect.
- Watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway. Tree limbs may break and/or other debris may come loose during strong winds.
- Listen to the radio for changes in weather conditions that could create more dangerous driving.
- If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, pull over into a safe parking area (the shoulder of a busy roadway is not safe) and stop, making sure you are away from trees, power lines or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle.
- When arriving at your destination, avoid parking near trees, downed power lines and buildings.
In the event of downed power lines:
- Never drive over downed power lines. Even if they have been knocked over by the wind, high-voltage wires may still be alive and very dangerous.
- Avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches.
- Report downed lines to your local utility emergency center and to the police.