Motorists warned to take precautions as Storm Abigail approaches

Drive carefully in bad weather warns the Institute of Advanced Motoring.
Drive carefully in bad weather warns the Institute of Advanced Motoring.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for high winds in areas of Scotland, specifically the Western Isles, parts of Argyll and the north west Highlands and Orkney.

The Met Office said winds could gust to up to 90mph and forecasters said large waves could affect coastal areas.

The yellow warning covers from 6pm on Thursday to 2pm Friday and the amber from 9pm on Thursday to midday on Friday.

It warns of gusts of up to 70mph and possibly 90mph in exposed places. Rain and lightning have also been forecast for the next two days.

The IAM proposes the following tips for driving in these conditions:

What’s around the corner?

As you approach a sharp bend ease off the acceleration, because you never know what’s around the corner.

Gusts of wind can force large branches to fall onto the road, completely blocking it.

Be prepared for any debris that obstructs the road and be open to the idea that you may have to make a U-turn and use another route.

Don’t get blown away

Be aware of other motorists around you as the windy weather can affect both their and your vehicles.

Strong winds are not constant but usually come in gusts blowing motorcycles, lorries and buses from side to side.

If you’re driving on the motorway, keep an eye on other vehicles making sure you hold firmly onto your steering wheel to stay in control.

Be aware that as you come out from overtaking a lorry, there may be a strong side wind you were being sheltered from.

Mind the gap

Watch for gaps in rows of trees and buildings, or the end of a cutting, or a bridge over a river or railways – places where you are suddenly exposed to side winds.

Make sure you have enough room between you and the vehicle beside you to account for you or them being blown sideways.

Park it right

Avoid parking your car in a bay that is surrounded by trees as high winds can cause large branches and debris to fall on to your car bonnet.

Gusts of wind can also force parked cars to shudder, so make sure you fully apply your hand brake before leaving the car.

Leave cars with manual gearboxes in gear – this is very important if you’re parking your car on a slope.

And before you get back in when returning to your car, have a look around to check there are no trees that look likely to fall.

Planned and routed

Last but not least, make sure you plan your route ahead to avoid any disruptions.

Narrow roads are more likely to get blocked by fallen trees, branches and wet leaves in the windy weather – it is therefore best to avoid narrow roads and lanes which are exposed to debris.

For more driving and riding advice visit: Driving and riding tips

For weather updates on the web go to BBC weather