watch out for screen and scissor effects

The wind It is one of the most dangerous atmospheric phenomena for driving. This is what the DGT points outespecially if blows sideways and gusts regarding the road, or in general strong streaksas it can significantly compromise the stability of the vehicle and even make us lose control.

Now that the cold seasons arrive, the strong wind can occur more frequently. And this atmospheric phenomenon can cause two dreaded effects when we are driving on the road: the screen effect and the scissors effect.

Screen effect: watch out for the “parapets” of the road

One of the most common effects in driving caused by the wind is what is known as the screen effect, which the DGT defines as “temporary wind break“.

It occurs when the wind blows from the side (that is, perpendicular to the road) and a bulky object covers it momentarily: when leaving this coverage the “push” of the wind it can move our car or vehicle laterally, varying its trajectory.

And this can translate into the invasion of another lane, being especially dangerous if it is in the opposite direction, or cause an exit from the road.

What can cause the screen effect? Wind shed effect can occur when overtaking or passing a bulky vehicle such as a truck, large van or bus. But also when exiting a tunnel or an area covered by buildings or when passing under a bridge or overpass.

Screen effect with wind and how to act according to the DGT
Source: DGT

How can we neutralize it? On windy days, the first thing is to be aware of which direction the air is blowing: the vegetation next to the road or the windsocks will allow us to know if it is blowing laterally from the left or the right.

And in turn, knowing this effect to act accordingly: whether we leave an area protected by a tunnel, buildings or bridge, or if we overtake a truck or bus, it is advisable to turn the steering wheel slightly in the opposite direction to the direction the wind is blowing.

Thus, we will help mitigate the thrust of the air, preventing it from affecting our trajectory as little as possible.

Scissor effect: extreme precautions with a trailer

Off-road pick-up towing a caravan

The wind in driving affects more or less depending on the vehicle with which we circulate depending on its aerodynamics, volume or weight.

Thus, there is an effect that occurs in a specific case: when we circulate with a trailer hitched to car or in the case of articulated vehicles such as trucks. This is the so-called scissors effect.

What produces the scissors effect? Being hit from the side by the wind, the trailer can turn towards the car or truck tractor. And it is notably dangerous since it can drag the vehicle, hit other vehicles that are circulating or even overturn, with the risk that this entails.

Can it be neutralized? The DGT recommends that on days of strong wind, you avoid traveling or driving towing a trailer or, for example, a caravan, as it can significantly affect the stability of the set, leading to the dreaded jackknife effect.

However, if there is no other choice, or it surprises us unexpectedly in a given area, we can take a series of precautions. the main thing reduce speedbut we must also monitor the movements of the trailer we are dragging.

In addition, this effect can be minimized or avoided thanks to technology. It is the case of trailer stability control system that many brands already offer on their cars (usually as an option).

This acts together with the car’s dynamic control systems, monitors the trailer’s stability and intervenes on the brakes to maintain it. In extreme cases, if the safety limit is exceeded and it detects a possible risk of jackknifing, it brakes more sharply to neutralize it.

Active assistance systems (ADAS) such as the active warning for involuntary lane departure, the lane keeping system, help to neutralize the effects of the wind since they automatically correct the vehicle’s trajectory.

What does the DGT recommend for driving in strong winds?

road windsock

The wind it can affect driving depending on its speed (force) and the direction in which it blows. For example, if we find it head-on, it will hold us back when moving forward, but if we take it in our favor, it can encourage us to go faster, being especially dangerous on descents.

Be that as it may, as the DGT points out, special care must be taken when blowing to bursts or sidewaysbecause this is when it can compromise the safety of the march the most.

  • Better slow down. A very high speed is not a good companion for the wind since, the slower you drive, the less lateral displacement will be if your car is hit by a gust of air.
  • Firm but delicate at the wheel. When surprised by strong gusts of wind, you must always hold the steering wheel firmly but at the same time avoid sudden movements, since strong wind can multiply the reaction of the car and favor lurching.
  • higher revs. In windy conditions, it is recommended to drive with a high rpm, since the control over the car is greater. Thus, we can adjust a lower gear than usual with which we circulate at that speed. Remember that in automatic cars it can also be adjusted using the lever or paddles on the steering wheel.
  • Always in the center of the lane. Since the air can move the car or vehicle, it is advisable that we go as centered as possible in the lane. And especially if we are driving on a road with several directions of traffic, such as a conventional one.
  • The more aerodynamic, the better. In high or bulky vehicles, the wind affects much more, for example in a van or on a motorhome. We must always be clear about the particularities of the vehicle we drive and act accordingly.

However, its effect will also be more pronounced in a car if, for example, it carries luggage on the roof. If we have no choice but to carry cargo beyond the trunk, it is advisable to opt for a safe the closed trunk instead of simply carrying it tied to the roof rack, since they are designed to offer as little resistance to the wind as possible.

  • Watch out for the load. If you carry skis or bicycles or any other load outside the car (either on a roof rack, in the rear area or on a trailer), in strong winds you have to be even more careful that the objects are securely fastened. , because they could be fired with the danger that this entails.

Source: Motorpasión by

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