High winds are one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. When larger vehicles are tasked with driving through fast winds, they can tip over or swerve into different lanes.
These types of vehicles are called high-profile vehicles. Vehicles in this classification include SUVs, box trucks, semi-trucks, and RVs.
If you are wondering what a high-profile vehicle is or how to drive a high-profile vehicle in high winds, you have come to the right place. Continue reading this article to learn everything you need to know about high-profile vehicles.
What Is a High Profile Vehicle?
If you are hearing the term for the first time, you are most likely thinking about a fast car. This could be due to movies or due to high-profile celebrities driving flashy cars. However, Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s are not considered high-profile cars.
Everyone needs to know what a high-profile vehicle truly is. By spreading awareness, there can be fewer car accidents involving these vehicles. Knowing how to drive these vehicles and drive near these vehicles is crucial to safety on the road.
Simply put, a high-profile vehicle is big. They are larger vehicles that are common on roads and highways. These vehicles are longer than most and have tall sides.
The reason that these vehicles have been classified in their division is simple. They have been categorized because they need more attention when there are high winds.
Although there is no height or weight regulation, high-profile vehicles can be easily identified. There are not many types of high-profile vehicles. but they are popular.
What Hazard do High Profile Vehicles Face?
There are several risks involved with driving high-profile vehicles. However, none is more prevalent than high winds while driving. With large surfaces and tall walls, these vehicles are heavily affected by strong winds while moving.
A highway is the most common place to see the effect of wind on these vehicles. Crosswinds are a huge threat to any moving high-profile vehicle. These winds can come out of nowhere and be up to 60 MPH.
High winds can come in many different shapes and sizes. They can come out of nowhere and catch you off guard. They can also be attached to a heavy rain or snow storm. No matter the conditions of the strong winds, high-profile vehicles are affected by them.
Smaller cars are more compact and have less surface area. Unlike these cars, high-profile vehicles have a lot of surface area. Surface area plus tall walls can be easily hit by strong winds, causing them to wobble or fall.
High winds can be classified as 40 to 57 MPH. Winds of this speed can sway or knock over these vehicles. On an open road, these winds can cause the following issues to arise:
- Trees knocked down onto the road
- Several forms of debris hitting your windshield and vehicle
- Several forms of debris obstructing your path
- High winds can kick up dirt and dust
- Wobbling within your lane
- Very high winds mixed with a turn can cause your high-profile vehicle to tip over
- Severe accidents due to impaired sight
If you have the opportunity to minimize your risk of being affected by high winds, do so. You can add weight to your vehicle or even add a spoiler to help create more drag. This means your car will essentially be pressed onto the ground.
High Profile Vehicles
As mentioned, there are not many high-profile vehicles. There are a few types of vehicles that are very popular. Here is a comprehensive list of all the common types of high-profile vehicles.
RVs can be extremely affected by wind speed. If the RV is a larger motor home or a trailer, they are rollover hazards during high winds. These vehicles are prone to high winds because they are essentially giant rectangles on the road.
RVs have a large surface area that can be easily hit by strong winds. Even though they are heavy, they have large flat surfaces. High-speed winds are not friendly toward large flat surfaces.
When driving in heavy wind conditions, you need to be cautious around RVs. One strong gust of wind can be the difference between an accident. Give the RV lots of room and only pass or drive next to it if you need to.
Even though SUVs can range in size, they should be considered high-profile vehicles. Popular SUVs have more surface area than a common car. Because of this, winds can hit the side of the car, causing it to lose traction or move into a different lane.
Modern SUVs have larger and longer sides as well as a higher roof. Due to those aspects of SUVs, they are considered high-profile vehicles. A general rule of thumb is to consider a car that is bigger than yours a high-profile vehicle.
Container Vehicle/Semi Truck/Box Truck
Semi-trucks are the perfect example of high-profile vehicles. On average, a semi-truck is 50 feet in length, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall. Semi-trucks are often the biggest vehicles on the road.
These vehicles have high walls that are completely flat. Similar to RVs, this makes a semi-truck highly vulnerable to strong winds. If you are driving near a semi-truck you need to be extremely careful.
Be extra careful around a semi-truck when it is making a turn. If a truck is turning when there are high winds, it is likely to flip. However, certain semi-trucks are taking steps to avoid flipping so easily.
Although they are vulnerable to winds, semi-trucks take measures against high winds. Several of these vehicles have spoilers to help with drag and resistance to wind. These can be large business expenses if you are looking to add these modifications to your vehicles.
You have most likely noticed a container vehicle sway from the wind. If you are driving on the highway, this is a scary common occurrence. Make sure to give these vehicles lots of room on the road.
Pickup trucks are just on the border of being classified as a high-profile vehicle. For the sake of the argument and safety, you should consider them as such. If you are driving a pickup truck or driving next to one, make sure to give the truck lots of space.
They might not be considered high-profile vehicles because of their height. Most high-profile vehicles are large and tall. Pickup trucks are large, but not incredibly tall.
Tips for Driving in High Wind Situations
It does not matter what type of high-profile vehicle you are driving, you need to be safe in high winds. You must be prepared for winds and cautious once they arrive.
Strong winds can come out of nowhere. The best practice is to remain ready at all times while operating one of these vehicles. There are several tips for driving in these conditions. Here are some of the best and most important tips to follow.
To prepare for bad weather, drive in bad weather. One of the best ways you can practice safe driving in high winds is to gain experience. You do not want to experience high winds by accident or in an uncontrolled setting.
Make sure that you practice off a highway for the first time. If the winds are strong, you do not want to be on the highway, even for practice. Stay in a controlled and slower area where you can feel what the wind does to your vehicle.
Having an understanding of what the wind will do is important. Feel the wind hitting the vehicle from all sides and maneuver your vehicle correctly. By practicing what will happen in bad weather conditions, you will be prepared for when it happens in real life.
Look at Weather Forecasts
This is the easiest way to be prepared for high winds. Simply look at the weather and see what the wind is like where you are and where you are going. If the wind speeds are a little higher than you like, wait until they have calmed.
If you have the opportunity to not fight with the wind, do so. Understand the forecast and make sure you are refreshing it constantly. You can see your forecast on your phone, over the radio, or on an accessible TV.
Make sure to allow alerts and updates on your phone. If there is a sudden change that you forgot about or wasn’t predicted, you can receive alerts. By doing so, you will always make sure you are in the loop with the most recent weather updates.
Responsible and Safe Driving
First of all, you should be driving safely and responsibly at all times. However, when the weather conditions are bad, you need to be extra responsible and safe. Make sure to constantly be checking your speed and have both hands firmly on the wheel.
Your safe driving is the only thing preventing you from a crash. Once you know the signs of high winds and bad weather approaching, you need to take all precautions necessary. This will keep you and other drivers safe.
If rain is coming in with the wind, turn on the lights and go slow. You need to make sure that people can see you before it’s too late. Great practice for driving in heavy rain is to have your hazards on. Always make sure you are driving at the speed limit or below the speed limit in these conditions.
If you can’t prepare in any way and don’t have time, make sure to stay alert. Being an alert and the present driver is mandatory. Being alert means you are constantly surveying the conditions around you.
Take into account what other high-profile vehicles are doing. If you see several pulled over, maybe you should as well. Stay alert by not zoning out or driving while you are tired. If you are tired and driving during high winds, pull over and get some rest while it blows over.
High winds normally bring obstacles into your path. Make sure to be looking at the road at all times for these obstructions. Make sure to never panic. If you get hit by an unexpected wind, you need to remain calm.
The worst thing you can do is panic. If you are traveling at 65 MPH and you start to panic and make bad vehicle adjustments, you could be in trouble. Stay firm and confident behind the wheel at all times.
What Is Classified as a Dangerous Wind Speed?
Different winds affect high-profile vehicles in different ways. This can be easily broken into two sections. The first is how wind affects the side of the vehicle and the second is geared towards front-facing surfaces.
Wind Hitting the Side of a High Profile Vehicle
High-profile vehicles have large sides. These sides make them easy targets for high winds. The larger the side of the vehicle, the larger the risk of potentially getting knocked over the vehicle.
A large container truck has a higher likelihood of getting knocked over than an SUV. The vehicles that have a larger surface area on their side profiles are more likely to get hit with more wind
It is not advised that high-profile vehicles drive in winds over 30 MPH. The National Weather Service encourages drivers of these vehicles to pull over and wait for the high winds to pass.
If you have the opportunity, do not drive in winds over 40 MPH. If a sudden crosswind hits a high-profile vehicle, they will get knocked over.
Wind Hitting the Front of a High Profile Vehicle
When the wind hits the front of a vehicle, it is called drag. A simple way to think about drag is that it is another word for resistance. Drag slows down a vehicle as they are attempting to move.
Drag works against high-profile vehicles. Drag works in the opposite direction of the way you are going. Think of drag and favorable winds being the opposite of each other. However, the force behind drag will make the high-profile vehicle go faster than anticipated.
If you want to feel dragged firsthand, there is an easy test you can do. The next time you are driving roll down your window and stick out your hand. Flatten your hand against the wind and you are feeling the force of drag. You will be doing it right if your hand gets pushed back hard.
Vehicles that have a large side profile also usually have a large front-facing surface. Having a lot of drag while also getting hit by random crosswinds can cause high-profile vehicles a lot of issues. Strong headwinds can cause these vehicles to swerve and increase speed.
How to Make My Vehicle a High Profile Vehicle?
Although they are hard to drive in winds, adding height to your car can be something you seek. Outside of having certain risks associated with higher vehicles, they can be appealing to some.
If you currently have a car that is not a high-profile vehicle, there are ways you can add height to it. If you like the high-profile style, you can make changes yourself. These changes won’t make your car as big and tall as a semi-truck, but they can help you achieve the style you want.
Get Big Tires
This is the simplest and easiest way to increase the height of your car. Bigger tires will increase the clearance space on your car. Big tires can also give off the illusion of your car being bigger than it really is.
Before you purchase larger tires, you need to do research of your own. You need to ensure that the new tires will line up with the holes and bolts of the car. if they don’t the tires won’t work for you.
Keep in mind that adding bigger tires has a few negatives. The main issue with adding bigger tires is that you can lose handling capabilities so make sure to drive safely with your new tires.
Suspension modifications are a great way to ensure your car does not go lower than a certain point. By utilizing instruments like assisters or spacers, you can keep your car at your ideal height. These tools will keep your coils extended which adds height to your car.
Although height will be added, this method damages your car. If you are worried about the warranty or damage to your car, this is not the method for you. Certain suspension mods can damage the suspension of your car for good. Replacing parts might be expensive.
The coils will not be able to absorb shocks as well as they normally would. Because of this, the suspension will take more hits than it is used to, which could cause a lot of damage.
Get a New Suspension System or Coils
Getting new coils for your suspension has a few benefits for your car’s new height. The coils will act just as spacers or an assister would for your car. One of the great things about this method is that it won’t damage your car badly or at all.
New coils will add height to your vehicle. While adding height, the car will also be riding smoothly thanks to the coils absorbing blows from the road. However, these coils will start to lose their height over time. Be sure to check on them regularly to ensure your heigh criteria are being met.
High Profile Vehicle FAQs
High-profile vehicles have a lot of aspects to them. There are several questions that you need to have answered about them. Whether you are driving one or seeing them on the road, it is important to have all your questions about them answered.
Which High Profile Vehicle is Affected by High Winds the Most?
All high-profile vehicles are affected by strong winds. However, the vehicles that are affected the most are container trucks, RVs, and box trucks. This is due to the surface area of their side profiles and height.
Which High Profile Vehicle is Affected by High Winds the Least?
Each profile of a high-profile vehicle is different than the next. When looking at these vehicles, SUVs would be affected the least by high winds. This is because they have less surface area on all profiles.
Would a Van be Considered a High Profile Vehicle?
Vans can certainly be classified as a high-profile vehicles. Answers may vary depending on where you look or who you ask, but it’s a good idea to be on the safer side.
They can be considered high-profile vehicles because of their rectangular and boxy shape. Freight vans are capable of having side with large surface areas that would be affected by wind.
Do High Profile Vehicles Have a Chance of Rolling Over?
In short, yes. High-profile vehicles are built to have a higher center of gravity which makes them more likely to roll over and get knocked over. If you are not sure if your specific vehicle has a rollover hazard, look in the owner’s manual.
High-profile vehicles are prone to rolling over on turns with winds. Due to their high center of gravity, making a sharp turn when there are strong winds can result in a rollover. Turns need to be taken slowly and carefully if there are high winds.
High profile vehicles have a larger chance of being knocked over than a regular car. Because of this, they need to be insured properly.
How Should I Drive a High Profile Vehicle in Strong Winds?
If you are driving in high winds you need to be smart, stay alert, and be responsible. Drive with both hands on the wheel and give the road your full attention.
Ensure that your tires are inflated to a good level, your headlights are functioning, and nothing is leaking. Be sure to turn off all distractions and keep yourself and those around you safe.
Use This Guide Whenever You Need It
High-profile vehicles are a common occurrence on the road. Because of this, they need to be driven properly and understood when driving next to them.
A high-profile vehicle may be a risk to drive during high winds. Make sure to take all precautions while operating or driving around one of these vehicles.
Driving a high-profile vehicle such as SUVs, semi-trucks, and RVs can be complicated. If you ever need to refresh your knowledge, use this guide to help you. Practice safe driving at all times.
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