Wind Speeds Hit 95mph Over the Weekend Creating Numerous Truck Blow-Overs

With numerous truck blow-overs occurring over the weekend, WYDOT is reminding motorists if winds are gusting to hurricane category strength, it may not be a good time to drive.

Jimmy Orr

December 06, 20213 min read

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At what point is it best for travelers in Wyoming to stay off its highways because of wind?

If the winds are gusting to hurricane strength, that’s a good signal that it may not be the best time to drive, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT).

Many drivers did not get that memo over the weekend as numerous blow-overs were recorded.

WYDOT hasn’t yet tabulated the number of accidents due to the wind but one traveler documented at least eight blow-overs during her 100-mile journey from Rawlins to Laramie.

Teresa Leroux took to Facebook’s “Wyoming Road and Weather conditions” page to post photos of the downed trucks she witnessed during her drive.

“This is right here why you do not ignore the high wind warnings when driving high profile trucks,” she said. 

Jordan Achs, a spokesperson at WYDOT, said the area between Rawlins and Laramie — specifically mentioning Cooper Cove about 35 miles west of Laramie — is one of the windiest areas in the state, along with Arlington on Interstate 80 and Bordeaux on Interstate 25.

These aren’t the only places where gusts can register to be hurricane strength. On Sunday, a wind gust outside of Clark, Wyoming, in northern Park County registered 95 mph.

Arlington wasn’t far behind, however notching a wind gust of 85 mph. Winning the bronze medal for the weekend was a location 18 miles northwest of Buffalo with an 82 mph gust.

WYDOT’s road and weather condition website says if the winds are gusting to more than 60 mph, it’s not a good idea to be on the road.

“Research does show that when wind gusts exceed 60 mph, it is almost certain that multiple vehicles will be blow over or be involved in a crash caused by loss of control,” the site says.

“These crashes often result in debris on the highway and a road closure to all vehicles.”

There were plenty of both over the weekend.

According to statistics from the Wyoming Department of Transportation, there were 167 blow-over crashes on Wyoming highways in 2020.

About one-third of the wind-related rollovers in 2020 involved heavy trucks, those weighing more than 26,000 pounds — 61, or 37%.

Only pickup trucks accounted for more rollovers, with 68 such accidents caused by wind.

From there, it’s a steep drop-off, with SUVs involved in 16 blow-over crashes and 11 involving medium trucks, those between 10,000 – 25,999 pounds.

How to know when it’s safe to drive across windy areas of Wyoming?

Achs said the agency’s “511 page” is a good place to investigate. The page is updated continuously, she said, with information about Wyoming roads.

“Know before you go,” Achs said. “We have sustained wind speeds on there as well as gusts. So you can get can get an idea of what’s ahead on your route.”

“The wind definitely does not discriminate,” she said.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.