Meteorological Investigation – Vehicle Accident

October 12, 2022


A vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle occurred on a remote section of a highway.  The evidence collected at the accident scene indicated that the trailer portion of the tractor-trailer had veered into the adjacent lane and collided with the passenger vehicle.  Interviews conducted at the accident scene revealed that adverse weather conditions may have been a contributing factor during the collision.

Services Provided

Rimkus was retained to determine the weather conditions at the time of the accident.  During the course of our investigation, we collected and examined local surface weather observation data, weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service, and site-specific radar data.  Based on our investigation and analysis, we were able to formulate the following opinions:

  • A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the accident location at the time of the accident.  The warning outlined the potential for wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour (mph).
  • An examination of the radar data indicated that a line of thunderstorms approached the highway from the south direction and perpendicular to the east-west direction of highway traffic.
  • An examination of weather station data in the vicinity of the accident location and radar data indicated that wind gusts, in excess of 60 mph and perpendicular to the flow of traffic, occurred abruptly at the time of the accident and at the accident location.
  • The weather conditions were determined to be a contributing factor and likely cause of the vehicle accident.

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