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How Often Do Heavy Winds Cause Car Wrecks?

Published on Apr 15, 2021 at 3:38 pm in Car Accidents.

Wind in grass with storm clouds above

Even though it seems to be a commonplace action that takes little concentration the more we do it, driving a car is an incredibly dangerous and complicated action that requires complete attention to the road and the vehicle. Drivers can be desensitized to the fact that motor vehicles are large, heavy machines that move at dangerous speeds and can lead to serious injuries and death if a driver’s eyes come off the road for a second.

And that’s in the best weather conditions. When the weather is not ideal, it can have an even greater impact on how you operate your vehicle. Before you decide to drive your car in dangerous weather, you should look at forecasts to determine if it will be safe to drive. One of the weather conditions that can lead to car accidents is heavy winds.

Let’s take a look at how often heavy winds cause car wrecks.

Heavy Wind Categories

Weather can affect how your car operates. Obviously weather events like heavy rain and tornadoes can have a negative effect on your driving and your ability to drive, but heavy winds on their own can also cause car wrecks. When it’s really windy, you might not think about how it could impact your driving until you’re already on the road.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are over 1 million car wrecks caused by bad weather every year. Those account for 21 percent of all crashes. But that is for any weather event, not just wind. When it comes to heavy winds, crashes don’t happen as often as snow-caused accidents might, but they do still happen.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory lists the different types of severe winds that can cause problems for drivers. They are:

  • Straight-line wind. This type of wind occurs in thunderstorms where there isn’t any rotation.
  • Downdraft. This is a small column of air that sinks towards the ground.
  • Macroburst. A macroburst is a downdraft that has a large outward burst that can span larger than 2.5 miles.
  • Microburst. A microburst is similar to a macroburst, but instead the span of the forceful winds is less than 2.5 miles.
  • Gust front. This is when a cooled front of air from rain collides with warmer air and creates a temperature drop and creates wind gusts.
  • Derecho. This is a large windstorm that lasts a long time and expands for over 240 miles. Winds will reach at least 58 miles per hour and occur with thunderstorms.
  • Haboob. A haboob is also caused by thunderstorms and is a wall of dust.

All of these different types of winds can affect traffic and create accidents in different ways. Let’s take a look at the different problems that heavy winds create that cause is car wrecks.

Types of Problems Caused by Strong Winds

The Federal Highway Administration has a Road Weather Management Program that details how different weather events affect cars and their abilities on the road. Wind speed can impact the roadway, traffic flow, and the operation of your vehicle. Here are some of the ways that heavy winds affect the roads:

  • Low Visibility. When strong winds occur, they can blow dirt, snow, and other small debris into the air that makes it harder for you to see while you’re driving. When you can’t see where you’re going, it can easily lead to accidents because you can run off the road, hit another driver, or hit an object.
  • Lane Obstruction. One of the main causes of car wrecks from high winds is from lane obstruction. Heavy winds can blow objects into the road, like trees, power lines, and other large objects that can cause accidents. Not only can a driver get into a collision with the object in the road, they can also get into an accident with other vehicles if they swerve to miss the object, or if they hit the obstruction and it causes them to lose control of their car.
  • Traffic Speed. High-speed winds will likely cause drivers to slow down because they realize that the conditions are dangerous for normal speeds. This can cause traffic to slow down, and could in turn create a travel time delay. It could take longer to get where you’re going, or the roads could get more congested because everyone is slowing down.
  • Accident Risk. Winds cause a higher accident risk for traffic flow. With everyone moving slower, and all the other external factors like obstructions and loss of control of a vehicle, cars could more easily crash into each other.
  • Vehicle Performance. Your car might not perform as well when there are strong winds. The stability of your vehicle could be compromised if the wind is gusting onto the roads and making you swerve in your lane. Additionally, if your car is taller or top heavy, the wind could cause your car to rock because it becomes unstable on its frame. Steering and control of your car could be challenged by high winds.
  • Access Control. You might not be able to access different roads that you normally would because of a road obstruction or because the road was shut down for evacuation. Sometimes heavy winds occur on their own, but other times they are paired with another serious weather event, like a hurricane or tornado. When that happens, you may not have access to certain roads, and that could cause a collision because you’re trying to divert your course or turn around.

The wind might seem like a harmless weather event when it comes to driving, but that’s not true. It could be dangerous or even deadly if you’re not paying attention to the road, driving accordingly, or your car isn’t fully prepared.

Bey & Associates Will Help You

When you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by severe weather, you might be wondering who is at fault and who is responsible for the injuries and damages you sustained. That’s where a car accident lawyer in Atlanta from Bey & Associates can help you. We’ll investigate your accident and determine who was at fault and get you the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our office today so that we can get started.