Strong winds may cause a tractor-trailer driver to lose control and cause an accident warns Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear.
Tractor-trailers are powerful machines but in the wrong conditions these trucks are like toys to Mother Nature. An accident earlier this year on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Virginia Beach, Virginia, shows how vulnerable lightly loaded commercial trucks are when strong winds start blowing. Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear warns that in strong winds truck drivers can lose control.
The accident took the life of truck driver Joseph Chen in February, according to Delmarvanow. His truck broke through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel guardrail and fell into the water below. Chen’s truck accident was the third one since 2014 that a trailer ripped through the bridge’s guardrails. Chen died shortly after the crash. One caller to 911 claimed to have seen him standing on the truck before it sank. The cause of death was hypothermia and drowning.
There are crossing restrictions on the 17.5 mile long roadway of tunnels and bridges when winds reach 40 mph. Chen’s truck went into the water during a Level 1 restriction, which bars passage for “large pick-up campers; camper trailers; house trailers; anything being towed; vehicles with any exterior cargo.”
There were higher, more restrictive warnings earlier in the day and Chen waited them out until the warning was low enough to allow his vehicle. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel authorities claim the accident was caused by Chen’s miscalculation when passing vehicles, not the wind. Thomas Perry, owner of Chen’s employer, Evans Transport in North Carolina, denies Chen was to blame; it was the bridge authority who let him on the bridge when the winds were too high.
The newspaper talked to Richard Wright, a semi-driver for Philadelphia Truck Lines, who has been driving commercial trucks for 17 years and crosses the bridge-tunnel at least twice a week. He said high winds make him a more hesitant driver. “When it’s windy, the truck rocks,” he’s quoted as saying. “And when I look through my mirror, the trailer is in another lane.”
The trailer of a semi-truck could be 52 feet long, eight and a half feet wide and thirteen and a half feet tall. If it’s not weighted down with cargo, or not much cargo, and there are strong winds the trailer acts like a sail.
Discussing driving during a strong of string of storms that went through Kentucky in 2014, Andy Ellis, a commercial truck driver with 18 years’ experience, told WKYT that although rain and snow can be dangerous to driver in, at least you can see it, unlike wind,
“We have a lot more area for the wind to push against, so weight does hold us down, but we still feel it,” said Ellis. “It still rocks us and pushes us. And if we’re not fully loaded, it can shove us sideways and make us weave in the road and maybe go off on the shoulder a little bit if we hit a wind gust.”
Curtis Bell, a trucker with 17 years’ experience, said, “They blow the trucks right over the side, so wind is a very dangerous thing when it comes to 18-wheelers.”
Have you been injured in a semi-truck accident caused by a truck driver who lost control due to high winds? Don’t wait to speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case. Protect your rights by calling Philadelphia and New Jersey truck accident lawyer Rand Spear today at 877-GET-RAND.