blog home Truck Accidents How Dangerous Are Heavy Winds to Tractor Trailers?

How Dangerous Are Heavy Winds to Tractor Trailers?

By Jason Bottlinger on September 15, 2023

High winds are extremely hazardous for big rig trucks. That’s why drivers and dispatchers must take active measures to avoid driving along windy highways and corridors. Drivers must slow down or pull off the road when they encounter high winds and other unsafe weather conditions.

Trucking companies lose money when their trucks slow down. That’s why many companies pressure their employees to keep driving in harsh weather conditions, even when it isn’t safe. This type of careless behavior puts other drivers and their passengers at risk, causing catastrophic injuries in places like Nebraska, where high winds frequently occur.

How Heavy Winds Cause Truck Accidents

Truck trailers aren’t very aerodynamic. In fact, the wide, flat sides of big rig truck trailers may have over 500 square feet of “sail area.” Just like a sailboat, strong crosswinds can catch hold of a truck trailer and blow the truck off course.

Crosswinds of 25mph or higher create a sail effect that may cause trucks to rock and sway. This makes steering difficult, and the driver could lose control of the vehicle, sending the truck into other lanes, across the median, or completely off the road.

Accidents that result when truck drivers lose control of their vehicles due to high winds include:

  • Jackknife accidents result when the truck’s trailer slides in a different direction than the cab, often forcing the cab to turn on its side. These accidents cause the trailer to spread across the road, cutting off traffic in several lanes. This often leads to multi-car pileups.
  • Rollovers result when a dangerous driver maneuver or strong winds cause a truck to roll over on its side. This can crush occupants of other vehicles in addition to disrupting the flow of traffic.
  • Underride accidents happen when cars slide underneath the rear or side of a semi-truck trailer. These crashes often cause catastrophic injuries for motorists and their passengers.
  • Runaway trailer accidents occur when the trailer becomes unattached from the truck. This is a terrifying scenario for drivers because it’s difficult to avoid an uncontrollable trailer rushing towards them.

How Drivers Can Avoid Accidents Caused by Wind

To prevent wind-related crashes, trucking companies must only hire experienced employees with safe driving records, and they should never encourage drivers to continue driving when the weather conditions are unsafe.

It’s important for drivers to inspect their loads before beginning any trip to make sure the cargo is evenly loaded. Drivers and dispatchers will want to check the weather report, looking out for wind advisories by using the app before beginning a haul. Drivers should avoid windy roads and corridors and choose an alternate path or postpone their trip when it is too windy to drive.

Factors that contribute to high-wind truck accidents include:

  • Poorly secured cargo
  • Negligent hiring
  • Improper weight distribution
  • Light or empty trailers
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Rainy, icy, or snowy conditions
  • Mechanical defects
  • Distracted driving
  • DUI
  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Poor route planning
  • Failure to notice or anticipate high winds
  • Continuing to drive when it’s too windy

Who Is Liable for High Wind Truck Crashes?

If you were injured in a wind-related crash, your Omaha truck accident lawyer will file a claim against anyone whose negligent behavior contributed to your injuries. This may include:

  • Careless truck drivers
  • Trucking firm owners and managers
  • Other drivers
  • Mechanics
  • Truck-loading companies
  • Contractors responsible for maintaining road safety

Were You Harmed by a Careless Trucker?

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. Our firm has a perfect A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau of Nebraska.

We have over 15 years of experience helping accident victims get the resources they need to cover their medical bills and other expenses, such as time missed from work. Jason B. Bottlinger was proud to be selected by Expertise as one of the top personal injury lawyers in Omaha.

Call (402) 505-8234 to learn more today.

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