On New Years Eve, high winds buffeted the Baltimore region and put drivers on area highways at increased risk for truck accidents. The Baltimore Sun reported that, during the period of high winds, a tractor trailer overturned on the Francis Scott Key Bridge, closing all travel lanes. According to Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the eighteen-wheeler traveling southbound across the bridge was forced by high winds across four lanes and into a sports utility vehicle traveling on the bridge’s northbound portion. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in this accident; however, it is not hard to imagine how the story could have easily ended more tragically.
This incident underscores the danger that high winds pose to Maryland big rig drivers and those that share the roads with them. Wind is a powerful force that can create white outs, snap trees, and damage buildings. Strong wind gusts can also force large commercial vehicles off highways, or into other cars on the road as it did this New Years Eve.
At the time of the accident, the Maryland Transportation Authority had issued wind restrictions for the Key Bridge and prohibited large trucks from traveling over the span. Wind restrictions are placed in effect when sustained wind speeds peak between 40 and 49 miles per hour. When wind restrictions are in place, house trailers, empty big rigs, and other high profile vehicles are prohibited by Maryland law from crossing effected bridges. If a truck driver in Maryland ignores the warnings of the Maryland Transportation Authority and operates a tractor trailer across bridges affected by wind restrictions this would be evidence of the truck driver’s negligence.