Ensure Your Driving Can Pass The Chinook Test


Calgary is an amazing city to live in and to explore. Part of what makes it so beautiful however, can also make driving here challenging because Calgary is just one place that strong winds, and sometimes Chinook winds, are common.

According to Wiki, Chinooks are strong winds have been known to make 30cm of snow almost vanish in a day and can raise temperatures by as much as 40 degrees for the few hours they are passing through. A Global News article from May 2017, reported winds at 89km/h through the city, resulting in power outages, downed trees and blowing debris. Considering that driving in such conditions are sometimes a necessity, it is important to understand these few simple tips in order to drive safely:

Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy – always

In changing climates and weather conditions, it is a good rule of thumb to ensure that you have windshield washer fluid topped up, or a spare jug of it in the car at all times. Checking tire pressure regularly – at every oil change minimum but every few weeks optimally – will ensure your vehicle is able to grip the road and handle the way you want in windy weather.

Don’t turn a blind eye – or ear

If you sense there is something wrong with your vehicle or hear a noise that is new, don’t put off investigating, assume it is nothing, or convince yourself you are imaging things. Pay attention to what your car is telling you so you can be sure there are no mechanical issues that can impact safety.

Understand wind and weight

If your vehicle is higher off the ground, understand that the wind is going to catch it with more force and it may be necessary to adjust your driving speed accordingly to ensure you have control, especially around corners. Understanding the impact of weight can also help you better pack your vehicle if you are going on a long trip. For instance, packing heavier items closer to axels and to the frame of your vehicle, rather than stacking items can have an impact on the vehicle’s balance.

Know the route you will travel

In many cases, there are different routes you can plan to get to your destination. Which is best during a wind storm? The route that offers wind breaks from trees and buildings, or the wide-open road where the wind can blow with its full force? Okay, perhaps we gave away the answer there; but it is important to consider in order to understand the conditions you’ll be facing.

Be wary of other drivers when passing

Understanding that a strong gust of wind can push a vehicle off course slightly, can cause a trailer to shift from its course, it is a good idea to avoid, or at least take extra caution when passing other vehicles. It is also important to recognize the risk and larger wind forces that larger vehicles, trucks and buses will face and to think before you pass. As mentioned above, these vehicles will take a larger portion of the wind’s force and may be more susceptible to shifting on the roadways.

Hold firm to the wheel

That same concept – the vehicle experiencing pushes and pulls as the wind crosses your path – also means it is important to have a firm grip on the wheel so that you can react quickly and adjust to any variances.

Sometimes, avoidance is best

Although strong winds can appear at any time, weather centres have become adept at tracking and reporting. Just as you might delay or try to get ahead of an oncoming snow storm, so too might you want to consider adjusting travel plans in order to arrive before the winds hit, or perhaps traveling after the system has passed.

Know the weather; know your route; decide whether it is safe to drive; know your vehicle is prepared and you can handle any weather Mother Nature might throw at you in Calgary.

Finally, if despite all prior check-ups, you ultimately get stuck out there and need immediate help, you know you can call Swift Towing in Calgary – any time!!!