We have been having days filled with dangerous winds, and it looks like we have a few more ahead.  High winds can be dangerous but if you follow these tips, it will help you on the road as well as others on the road.

According to Blain Johnson, Amarillo District Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation:

“Strong winds and areas with low visibility can be a dangerous hazard when driving.    “Wildfire prevention and personal safety are crucial. If you don’t have to drive during this next high wind event, then don’t. But if you don’t have a choice, then slow down and drive to conditions.”

The Texas Department of Transportation has a great list put together on how you can keep safe during these high wind events.

  • Be aware of anything on the side of the road that could blow into your path, such as branches, trees, tumbleweeds and other debris. If there are trees or other vegetation on the side of the road, look for how much it is moving, and if anything could possibly detach.
  • If you see a truck driving ahead that is losing its load, give it a lot of room. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to give yourself and other motorists time and space to react and avoid any debris in the road.
  • Turn on your headlights to see better through dust and dirt if the wind kicks up.
    Give all vehicles a lot of space. They may be forced to veer or suddenly change lanes as a result of a sudden or strong gust of wind.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel – Heavy winds make it harder to steer and handle a vehicle, so keep a firm grip on the wheel.
  • Slow down and drive to conditions – Driving slower than the posted speed limit helps lessen the dangers of wind and helps you better control the vehicle. Not only do you have less control of a vehicle the faster it is moving, but you also have less time to react. Sudden gusts of wind can cause problems that no one will be able to anticipate. If you are driving slower, you will have a better chance of avoiding them.
  • If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, pull over into a safe parking area (not the side of the road) and stop. Ensure you park away from trees, power lines, or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle.
  • Never drive over downed power lines as the high-voltage wires may still be alive and very dangerous. Also avoid anything that ma be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches.
  • Report downed power lines to Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-1999 or by calling 9-1-1.

We have seen so many accidents caused by the wind in this area and that includes large semi-trucks blowing over on the interstate.

Also keep in mind that these winds will be strong enough to pick up large items such as trampolines, pop-up tents, and patio furniture to name a few.  Make sure those items are secured and tied down as well.  Plus, if your fence isn't the greatest, you might make sure it is secured as well, to keep it from blowing down and your animals getting out.

Stay safe and as many meteorologists have said over the years, keep rocks in your pockets!

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