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How Heavy Winds Cause Big Rig Truck Accidents

By Ramsey Prather on November 5, 2023

Because of their enormous size and awkward shape, big rig trucks are particularly susceptible to heavy winds. That’s why truck drivers must remain alert to the hazards of traveling through high-wind corridors. It’s also important for drivers and dispatchers to pay attention to local weather conditions when they plan their routes.

Heavy winds may cause a big rig truck to topple over, slide across the highway, jackknife, or decouple. When it’s too windy to drive safely, truckers must pull over and wait for the wind to subside before they continue on their way. When truck drivers fail to take necessary precautions, they cause accidents that can result in severe injuries for motor vehicle drivers and their passengers.

Truckers Must Take Precautions To Avoid Wind-Related Accidents

Big rig truck trailers aren’t very aerodynamic. In fact, these giant boxes often contain over 500 square feet of “sail area,” and this can allow a heavy gust of wind to take hold of the trailer and carry it across the highway. Winds of 25mph or higher may cause conditions that force a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. Trucks traveling with empty trailers are more vulnerable to the effects of heavy winds.

For truck drivers, the most dangerous types of winds are crosswinds that blow across the direction they are traveling. The best way for truck drivers to avoid heavy winds is through sensible route planning. High-wind corridors should be avoided whenever possible. It’s also important for truckers to check local weather conditions before they begin driving and throughout their journey.

Many trucking companies expect drivers to meet strict delivery quotas. It may be more costly for a driver to take a longer route that avoids hazardous winds, and drivers may feel pressured to take unnecessary risks to make their quota on time. But there is no sense in driving when wind conditions are likely to cause a tragic accident.

Trucking companies are putting everyone on the road at risk when they fail to provide their drivers with the proper training, and this includes instructing drivers not to proceed when road and weather conditions make it unsafe to proceed.

Factors that contribute to heavy wind truck crashes include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Poor route planning
  • Speeding
  • Failure to check weather conditions
  • Failure to pull over and wait
  • DUI
  • Snow, ice, and rain
  • Tailgating
  • Poorly loaded cargo
  • Mechanical defects
  • Negligent hiring
  • Inexperienced drivers

Types of Truck Accidents Caused by Heavy Winds

Thousands of wind-related truck accidents happen every year. When truckers fail to take the necessary precautions, the following types of accidents will result:

  • A rollover occurs when a truck turns over on its side or lands on top of another vehicle. Heavy winds may topple a truck if the driver fails to properly steer the vehicle.
  • A truck jackknife is when the truck stops or skids and the trailer continues to push forward, causing the tractor and trailer to become disabled and stretched out across the roadway in a V-shaped position. Jackknifes result when the driver panics and slams on the brakes. These incidents frequently lead to multi-vehicle pileups that impact drivers in several vehicles.
  • An undercarriage or underride accident results when an automobile becomes lodged underneath a big rig truck. When a truck stops suddenly due to the driver’s inability to maintain control, a rear-und underride collision may occur. When heavy winds cause a truck to slide into another lane, a sideswipe undercarriage collision may result. Due to the height difference between trucks and cars, undercarriage accidents often cause severe injuries to automobile drivers and passengers when the car’s roof is crushed or sheared off.
  • Runaway trailer accidents happen when the truck’s trailer detaches from the cab. In this scenario, drivers are completely vulnerable to the trailer that’s traveling toward them, and it’s often impossible to avoid a collision.

Injuries Caused by Wind-Related Truck Crashes

A big rig truck is several times larger than regular passenger vehicles. When a truck crashes into an automobile, the car’s driver and passengers are much more likely to be injured or killed than the person operating the truck. Catastrophic injuries frequently suffered by motor vehicle occupants in truck collisions include:

  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Loss of limb
  • Whiplash
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ failure
  • Lacerations
  • Nerve damage
  • Crush injuries

Have You Been the Victim of a Big Rig Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one was severely injured or killed in an accident caused by a careless truck driver, the Savannah truck accident lawyers at Butler Prather LLP will file a claim or lawsuit to help you recover the cost of your medical bills and other expenses, such as lost wages, in-home nursing care, or wheelchair ramps for your home.

Butler Prather LLP has won landmark cases for clients in over 30 states. Our Georgia attorneys have won over a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts, including nine verdicts that exceed $100 million and over 60 verdicts and settlements of over $10 million.

Call (706) 322-1990 to learn more today.

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