For big rigs and tractor trailers, high winds can mean an increased risk of accidents and rollovers. Quite simply, these vehicles have a much higher center of gravity and when large trucks drive along bridges or highways, especially, the wind can hit the truck with enough force to knock the vehicle off its route and into another lane. In some cases, it can cause the truck to fall over.
Trucks may be especially at risk if they are hauling empty trailers and don’t have the added weight to anchor them down. Speeding vehicles along routes with little wind cover are also especially vulnerable.
When a truck accident in Hollywood or South Florida happens and wind is cited as a main or contributing factor, many people assume there is no claim. After all, no one can control the weather. In many cases, however, negligence plays a role in these accidents. Truck drivers are trained to drive in bad weather and should be slowing down or getting off the road in dangerous conditions – such as high winds.
Liability and truck accidents
When truck drivers know conditions are dangerous, they should be taking action to stay safe and to keep other road users safe. When trucks don’t do this and an accident results, they can be held partly liable, even if weather was an underlying factor in the accident.
Truck drivers are expected to take several steps to prevent tip-over accidents caused by high winds. Truck drivers may need to:
- Stay aware of weather updates so they can respond appropriately.
- Know their truck. Larger trucks have a larger area that can be affected by wind, and empty trailers can be more at risk. Drivers need to be aware of these risks.
- Be aware of signs. Signs for bridges, road signs for high winds, as well as wind socks can help truck drivers evaluate the dangers and respond appropriately.
- Check the truck over carefully. A pre-drive inspection is mandatory and should check to make sure cargo is correctly secured and that doors are properly secured. In high winds, tip overs are not the only danger; falling debris can also be a problem.
- Be ready to pull over. The best solution for trucks carrying little cargo in high winds is to wait until the wind passes. Parking with the can facing the wind and waiting reduces the risk of tip-overs and accidents. It’s especially important to pull over in winds if there are additional weather issues – such as slippery roads or poor visibility – in addition to the wind.
If you’re renting a larger moving truck or larger truck for some reason, you’ll need to keep these tips in mind, too, since you’re prone to tip-overs as well. If you drive a passenger car and are injured in a truck accident in bad weather, don’t let an insurance company or trucking company tell you that you have no case because the accident was “just” caused by bad weather.
Truck drivers are expected to take precautions in inclement weather and if you’re injured you deserve to know what went wrong. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group, a law firm with offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami. Our team of attorneys serves the entire South Florida area and we’re proud to offer a free consultation, so it costs you nothing to get an evaluation of your situation.