Last week in the state of Washington, high winds resulted in the tragic deaths of three motorists. In three separate incidents, falling trees caused the fatal injuries – a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But of course, extremely windy conditions can also create driving hazards that have nothing to do with the risk of falling trees. Winds can make steering and maintaining vehicle control very difficult.

This week high winds are expected in parts of Arizona, Michigan and some other states. To watch a Ford video about driving in high winds, you can click on the photo or link above. Additionally, here are some tips from esurance you may want to pass along to drivers as a friendly reminder:

  • Slow down. Crosswinds make it harder to control your vehicle, especially if you drive a truck or SUV.
  • Don't stop on a bridge. Gale-force winds have been known to actually push vehicles off.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel. Position your hands at 9 and 3 o'clock (or 8 and 4). This will help you react more quickly to sudden gusts or unexpected moves by drivers around you.
  • Stay away from trucks and buses. It's easier for them to lose control, so steer clear.
  • Watch for downed power lines. High winds can knock down power lines. Call 911 if you see any and stay away from them.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Also, after the storm, keep on the lookout for road debris that hasn't been cleaned up yet.
  • Expect the unexpected, especially if the wind suddenly calms. You might be in the eye of the storm, which means it's far from over. Keep your guard up until you're able to get off the road. 
  • Avoid flooded areas. Not only are floods bad for your vehicle, but they may be housing hidden electrical currents if a power line fell nearby. Don't try to drive through them – and never attempt to walk or swim through them.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle.