For those of us who have spent countless hours behind the wheel driving from one side of the country to another, we have all seen semi-trucks lying on their sides. It is amazing to think, that something weighing 60 to 80 thousand pounds can be tipped over by wind.
Unfortunately, the basic design of a van (trailer) makes it very susceptible to tipping over. The bottom of a trailer is roughly 49” off the ground and the cargo area is pretty tall (roughly 110 inches). So, the center of mass is very high off the ground. Having a high center of gravity by itself isn’t all that bad. The only times having a high center of gravity comes into play is when you are taking corners or are driving on a unleveled surface. At that point, you have to worry about tipping over.
The design issue with van’s is their large flat side. At say 53 feet and 110 inches long, there is roughly 69,960 square inches of surface area (not including the truck). It, with only a few pounds of force, there becomes a huge amount of pressure on the side of the truck.
Hats off to the driver in this video as he was able to regain control of his truck while on 9 wheels. The video was taken along the Colorado highway just a couple of days ago.
The video below doesn’t show a truck tipping over, but it shows how scary wind can be for an unloaded trailer. Watch as the trailer almost bends in half. Mother nature has a very subtle power about her sometimes and if not respected, horrific things can certainly happen.