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Big Rig Falls from Bridge – Reminds Us to Drive Safely in Windy Weather

Though most big rig drivers are undoubtedly good at what they do, the fact is that with such massive objects on the road, when something goes wrong it can go really wrong. This is exactly what happened earlier this month when a tractor trailer fell off a bridge in Virginia Beach.

(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun)
(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun)

Truck Falls from Bridge

On February 9th, a tractor trailer fell over the railings of a bridge spanning the Chesapeake Bay during high wind conditions. The waters below the bridge were frigid at the time, and the driver of the truck, 47-year-old Joseph Chen of Greenville, North Carolina, was killed. Though it was initially presumed that the high winds during the time of the crash caused the truck to go over the side of the bridge, authorities have still not issued a definitive conclusion as to what happened.

Big Rigs Particularly in Danger

Everyone knows the feeling of a large gust of wind as they drive on a blustery day. But while cars are manufactured to be relatively aerodynamic, meaning that the wind easily flows around the car’s curves instead of pushing on the vehicle, the trailers pulled by big rigs are large and flat – perfect for wind to push against. When big rigs are pushed around on bridge spans the results can be catastrophic because bridges have limited shoulder lanes, and hence offer less room for error.

Other Trucks Have Fallen from the Bridge

According to a Baltimore Sun article on the incident, the wind was blowing between 40 and 47 mph at the time of the crash, but earlier in the day had been gusting up to 60 mph. The lowered wind speeds at the time of the incident were not deemed sufficient to block tractor trailers from using the bridge, but the winds were still strong enough to cause a Coast Guard helicopter to initially abort the attempt to rescue Mr. Chen.

After the tragedy officials stated that since 1964, 10 people had died in 12 incidences of vehicles driving off the bridge, including Mr. Chen. Comparatively, as of the writing of this article in the Baltimore Sun in July 2013, only 2 vehicles had fallen from the Maryland Chesapeake Bay bridge since its opening in 1952.

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