Maryland Transportation Authority officials shut down a section of Interstate 95, the East Coast’s main shipping thoroughfare, after heavy winds caused a truck accident on the Tydings Memorial Bridge in northeast Maryland. Baltimore’s ABC affiliate WMAR News Channel 2 reported on the March 2, 2018 incident and posted video showing two semi truck trailers being overturned by the excessive gusts. High winds are a contributing factor in many Maryland auto accidents involving trucks, but blustery conditions can also make fault a complex issue if you are injured in a crash.
Hazards for Semi Trucks During High Winds
The height, weight, and overall size of large trucks means that heavy gusts affect them differently as compared to passenger vehicles. Trucks and their trailers create high profiles on the road, which makes it difficult for wind to easily pass over them like lower, more aerodynamic cars. Plus, strong winds often accompany storms or other severe weather, so there may be additional challenges presented by slippery or wet roadways.
In addition, the weight and placement of the trailer’s cargo can create issues for truck drivers in gusty conditions. The weight distribution may shift in wind if the load is not properly secured, making stability a serious problem.
How Winds Impact Truck Operation
A tailwind can significantly increase the speed of a truck, making it more difficult to stop; a headwind can cloud the driver’s judgment as far as how much acceleration is necessary to reach a certain speed. However, a cross wind over the broad side of a truck’s trailer is one of the most dangerous forces. These gusts can actually cause the trailer to sway on its axles and blow the entire vehicle, including the cab, onto its side. Any vehicle in the immediate area can be crushed by an overturning semi truck, and the weight of the trailer’s cargo can cause further damage.
Questions Regarding Fault in a Wind-Related Truck Accident
There are some rare instances in which the wind is 100% to blame for a truck accident, but the driver’s negligence is often a factor. A truck operator must use the proper amount of care in driving the rig, even in the presence of high winds. In some weather conditions, the truck driver should not even venture out on the road in order to prevent an accident. Failure to do so may, by itself, indicate negligence.
Other issues related to fault include:
- Inattentive or distracted driving;
- Poor judgment in recognizing the severity of the windy conditions;
- Mechanical problems that lead to problems with control, which is extremely critical in high winds;
- Traveling over the speed limit;
- Driving at a speed that is unsafe for conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit; and,
- Many other types of negligent conduct, based upon the circumstances of the accident.
High winds may be a contributing factor in a truck accident, but weather conditions alone do not absolve a driver, trucking company, or insurer from liability. If you were injured in any type of truck collision in Maryland, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss your case. We can schedule an initial consultation to review your legal options at our Baltimore County, MD office.
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