Driving Truck In Windy Conditions?

Topic 11506 | Page 1

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>>--HuntinDoug-->'s Comment
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One of the few fears I have about driving a semi is strong cross winds. I remember as a kid I rode with my dad once and it was really windy. I could feel the truck moving as the cross wind hit it. I was scared, but it didnt seem to phase my dad at all. How much of an issue is it, and what stories do you veteran drivers have of driving in the wind?

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Doug, I don't feel the effects of the wind as severely as some of the dry van and reefer haulers, but here's a few links to some interesting stuff dealing with the subject. Hopefully I'm not increasing your fears of the wind, I just thought of these when I read your post. I do know that if your trailer is empty you feel the effects of those cross winds in a much greater way.

Check out this tricky save in a high wind.

And take a look at these sleeping semis.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.


A refrigerated trailer.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PPGER's Comment
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I hesitate to respond since I only have about 1500 miles under my belt, but it all depends on if you're loaded or not. If you're empty or light or top heavy, it'll make a big difference as compared to carrying a heavy low centered load. Our last load was 43,600 and we had winds of around 30 mph and they not bad. But earlier we had a load of only about 22000 and lighter winds pushed me around a lot more.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Like other forms of weather, the effects of cross winds are more pronounced on a semi-trailer (van) than on other vehicles. This is especially true when empty and/or combined with snow or rain. Like many things you tend to get a feel for the wind and when common sense kicks-in signaling to shut down. A sustained wind speed of 35-40 with significantly higher gusts is where I get concerned and reduce my speed accordingly and if need be, park.

Common sense, experience, and listening to the CB chatter is helpful. If it's really windy you will hear about it on the CB.

In 3 years I have only had to shut down 4 times:

Twice on I-40, once WB east of Gallup NM and once EB between Flagstaff and Winslow AZ. Several semis were blown over. Happens all the time on I-40 in this stretch.

Once in Gordon PA before doing my loaded call the terminal manager suspended dispatch for 4 hours due to 60mph gusts.

And the most memorable (scary) on US 395 north of Bishop CA through the Owens Valley, east slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I saw 4 trucks blown over in a 2 mile stretch of highway. Even though loaded with 45k of paper, I could feel the trailer listing to my left and noticeably off-tracking from the wind. CA Highway Patrol was flagging trucks to park. I parked it facing the tractor into the wind at a 90 degree angle to the trailer until the CA Highway Patrol lifted the trailer ban. Sat their for 6 hours. I went outside and almost was blown off my feet, all 200 lbs of me. Incredible power.

Respect the wind. You will learn when it's ok and when it's not, relying on experience and listening to your gut. One other thing to remember, depending on the circumstance many carriers will consider a roll-over from wind a preventable accident. Err on the side of caution until you develop your "Spidy" sense for this.

Safe travels.


A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Nuts's Comment
member avatar

Friday the wind in eastern ND was strong from the south at 25-30 mph constant with gusts up to 40mph. I am driving home from work around 1030pm and traveling straight east, traveling west was a semi which I could see was leaning (clearance and headlights lights were not level) being pushed by the wind. I am thinking he must have a empty van, nope he was bobtailing. I was really surprised at how much the wind was affecting the truck without a trailer. Learn something new everyday, much respect to mother nature.


"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Oh yeah! One of the many reasons I despise driving any distance bobtail. Here are a few more:

Reduced sense of braking, especially on wet pavement.

A much rougher ride without the trailer.

Shifting while taking off from an intersection or a stop is jerky and unpredictable.

One positive is that it's much easier to find parking just about anywhere.


"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Harvest's Comment
member avatar

First time I ever felt extreme wind was my very first time in Wyoming on i80! That was the first time I was truly afraid while driving. I forget how heavy my load was. But every few miles I saw a semi that was rolled over. And I could have sworn I was going to roll. But I couldn't just stop on the shoulder. I was white-knuckling it until I found a truck stop to sit for awhile. After that, I was always sure to check for wind advisories and plan my trip accordingly.

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