There are more than a thousand semi-truck crashes each year because of severe crosswinds, according to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). High winds make driving risky for both the trucker and other motorists on the road. Truck drivers are required to take necessary precautions when high winds pose a risk.
If you have suffered injuries in a semi-truck accident in inclement weather or someone you loved was killed in such an accident, it is time to get in touch with a formidable semi-truck accident attorney in California to know about your right to recover financial compensation.
Extreme Wind Conditions Can Cause a Semi-truck Flip Over in California
There are various factors that come into play when calculating the wind speeds that can make a truck flip over. The total weight of the truck is the first factor. An empty trailer weighing 32,000 lbs. is going to be easier to flip as compared to a 60,000 lbs. fully loaded trailer. The direction of the wind is another factor.
Crosswinds are those that blow across from the direction the vehicle is traveling. These are more dangerous as compared to headwinds (blows directly against the truck) or tailwinds (blows along the same direction the truck is traveling.)
In general, wind speeds higher than 60 mph are enough to flip an 18-wheeler. However, truck drivers need to exercise caution whenever wind speeds exceed 40 mph.
The entire vehicle can be at risk of becoming unbalanced if the trailer begins to sway back and forth or rocks from side to side. It’s easy for a trucker to lose control of the vehicle and cause a collision. If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you may have grounds to file a claim and seek compensation.
Potential Trucking Hazards Resulting from High-Speed Winds
Semi-truck crashes are incredibly dangerous. Trucks have a lot of momentum when traveling on interstates. This makes them difficult to stop resulting in substantial damage.
High winds may cause the following types of tractor-trailer accidents:
- Truck rollovers: This is a common type of accident resulting from high winds. The vehicle can slide and roll over if the truck driver loses control of the vehicle. Other vehicles, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles can get crushed under the turned semi or suffer other types of damage.
- Jackknife accident: These accidents occur when the tractor-trailer creates a 90-degree angle from the semi cab’s front. The trucker may lose control of the vehicle during high winds. They may brake too quickly or apply too much pressure, resulting in a jackknife.
- Under-ride crashes: These are among the deadliest truck accidents. The trucker may attempt at stopping too quickly in an attempt to regain control of a vehicle thrown off by the wind. The vehicle behind the truck can easily get lodged under the trailer if the driver of the passenger car is not paying enough attention or is tailing too close behind.
- Lost load accidents: Cargo that is not properly secured can fly off the trailer in high winds. It may cause other motorists to swerve in an effort to miss the debris. This may cause other collisions.
An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate the unique circumstances of your accident and determine the best way of proceeding.
Liability for Negligent Truck Driving During High Winds
Truck drivers in California and trucking companies are required to employ safe practices while operating in bad weather conditions. This includes driving during high winds. Truck drivers have a duty to drive safely. They have to keep themselves and others safe by pulling over or slowing down if driving conditions are unsafe.
Employers are required to help truck drivers through continuous training. This will help truck drivers determine the best way of responding to dangerous weather. Truck companies are required to be mindful of different weather conditions when interacting with employees through dispatch or planning routes.
Truck companies that fail to satisfy their responsibility of making sure their drivers operate safely during dangerous weather conditions, including high winds, can be held potentially liable for negligence. FMCSA regulations require all truck drivers to exercise “extreme caution” when operating their vehicles in hazardous weather conditions.
This includes pulling over and reducing speed when conditions become sufficiently dangerous. These practices are set in place to protect truck drivers, other motorists, and their cargo. Truck accidents result in the most catastrophic injuries. This is why truckers have an obligation of doing everything they can to prevent a potential accident.
Truck drivers should be more adaptive and attentive to weather factors. This includes checking weather reports before starting a drive, knowing the vehicle and load weight, looking for signs of approaching winds, and taking immediate action to prevent a collision.
Get a Competent Semi-Truck Accident Attorney in California on Your Side
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP have worked with countless injured victims and their families whose lives have been impacted by reckless truck drivers and negligent trucking companies. Our attorneys will leave no stone unturned to prove the liability of the at-fault parties so that you can get the maximum financial compensation you are entitled to.
To set up your free case evaluation with our legal team, give us a call at 619-441-2500 or reach us online.