How can wind increase the chances of auto accidents?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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Bad weather can really cause trouble for San Francisco area motorists. The Federal Highway Administration points out that an average of over a million motor vehicle crashes are caused by adverse weather. Strong winds are one such example. When high winds strike California roads, drivers can face a number of hazards that could damage their vehicles or cause serious personal injury.

To start with, wind can make it hard to maintain full control of your vehicle. If you are driving down a road and your vehicle is hit by wind from the right, your vehicle might jolt a little to the left. Depending on the severity of the wind, the lightness of your vehicle and your alertness behind the wheel, you might swerve into the path of another vehicle or strike a nearby physical obstacle.

Wind can also scatter debris into a road. For instance, a broken tree branch can collapse into one or more road lanes and obstruct the flow of traffic. Wind can also interfere with visibility by blowing dust and dirt around, some of which can get on your windshield. During a rainstorm, severe winds can blast water through the air and turn already troublesome rain into an even worse ordeal for motorists.

Authorities may determine that wind is so dangerous that certain roads will be closed until weather conditions improve. Motorists should pay attention when signs are erected that close off roads and bridges. In addition, authorities will sometimes prohibit small vehicles like motorcycles from being driven on wind-afflicted roads. Trucks that openly carry fragile cargo like glass panes could also be banned until the wind dies down.

Drivers should evaluate the strength of their vehicles when strong winds are present. A motorcycle is especially vulnerable due to its small size, so a better bet is to not ride it when weather deteriorates. Cars and trucks that are strong enough to handle wind should drive at a slower speed to maintain greater control on the road. A driver who does not take proper caution could end up colliding with another motorist. Not only can a wind-related accident result in grave personal injury, but if it occurs in the midst of a storm, emergency assistance may find it harder to arrive.

Because bad weather affects driving conditions in many different ways, you should not read this article as legal advice. It is only intended for your educational benefit.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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