Although semis are among the sturdiest and powerful vehicles on the open road, they can become unstable and dangerous when high winds come in contact with them. Recently, a notable wind-related accident involving a trailer that occurred in Virginia Beach served as a sobering reminder of how vulnerable commercial trucks are when they have light loads.
In the Virginia Beach accident, the driver was killed after strong winds encountered the truck and he lost control of the vehicle and drove through the guard rails on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. That area has crossing restrictions for trucks when winds exceed 40 miles per hour. At the time, the warning level was low enough that the driver assumed a safe crossing based on towing and truck size guidelines.
Wind Is a Cause for Concern
Truck drivers can lose control quickly after a sudden, powerful gust of wind. A veteran truck driver from Pennsylvania who crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge several times per month said that he was always cautious and nervous about crossing it on windy days. He reported looking in the mirror several times to see that his trailer was in another lane, and said that his truck’s cab would rock on windy days.
The driver pointed out what many safety experts warn truck drivers about, and that is how an empty trailer behaves in wind. Since it is large, long, and hollow, it can actually be described more like a sail than an extension of the truck when there is unruly wind. A truck carrying a heavy load is much more steadfast.
Experts from safety agencies warn truck drivers that wind is especially dangerous because it is not a visible threat. Snow, rain, hail and debris are all visible, and they prompt truck drivers to slow down whether they are towing a load or not. A load that is not balanced can also create a swaying danger for truck drivers during windy conditions. Drivers of 18-wheel trailers face the biggest risks for empty trailers or unbalanced loads on windy days.
Dangers to Motorists
Unfortunately, many incidents involving trailers flipping over or veering into adjoining lanes result in other vehicles being hit or knocked off the road.Car drivers who are injured by a veering semi on a windy day may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Windy conditions can easily cause a truck accident. If you or someone you know suffered an injury in a truck accident, contact Truck Wreck Lawyers. We have the legal resources to get you in touch with an experienced truck accident attorney. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.