If you’ve ever driven out of town and seen a semi-truck knocked onto its side, you’re not alone. Turned-over trucks aren’t uncommon in the midwest, especially in the Great Plains region. But why is this? Why do trucks get knocked over?
True to its name, the Great Plains are wide and flat. That means the wind tends to be much more powerful because there aren’t a lot of natural barriers to disrupt it. On an especially blustery day, wind speed in North Dakota can get up to 90 mph.
A truck’s trailer is boxy, and all that surface area gives the wind more to push against, creating a force multiplier effect. If the wind is coming perpendicular to the truck, it can put enough force on the trailer that the truck is knocked on its side. When this happens, it not only endangers the driver, the truck can potentially fall or roll onto cars and drivers in the surrounding lanes.
For this reason, many truck drivers refuse to drive on the highway when wind speeds are greater than 60 mph. Even then, the wind’s impact on a truck will depend on the load weight and how that load is distributed. An empty or low-weight truck could be knocked over at wind speeds as low as 45 mph!
What Truckers Can Do
It’s not unusual to see trucks huddled around an exit in stormy weather. The more permanent barriers truck drivers can put between themselves and the wind, the less likely they are to be knocked over. However, there isn’t always a good place to pull over.
When the winds are strong, and there’s no nearby shelter, the best thing a truck driver can do is pull over and face their vehicle parallel to the wind. This way, the wind has much less surface area to push against, and the truck driver can wait until the front passes and it’s safe to proceed.
The risk comes when truck drivers are unwilling or unable to wait. Fighting the wind is a recipe for disaster and endangers everyone on the road. Worst of all, these accidents often cause catastrophic damage for everyone involved.
If you’d like to discuss the impact of your crash with an experienced truck accident attorney, don’t hesitate to call upon Maring Williams Law Office. Our firm serves injured parties across North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana. Send us an email or call us today at (701) 402-6644 for a free consultation.