Date of this Version
Report # MATC-KU: 263 Final Report 25-1121-0001-263
Dangerous weather and high wind in particular, is a common contributing factor in truck crashes. High wind speeds have been documented as a perennial cause of truck crashes in Kansas and other Great Plains states. The possibility of reducing such crashes, combined with the installation of dynamic message signs along Interstate 70, created an opportunity for further research. To this end, crash data were obtained from the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Accident Records System for all heavy vehicle crashes on I-70 that involved strong winds. The data were analyzed to determine the correlations between the vehicle and freight characteristics, crash occurrences and weather conditions. The goal of this analysis was to construct a model that could predict the likelihood of such wind-induced truck crashes. Ideally, this model could furnish officials with a framework for preempting such crashes by imposing highway usage restrictions; thereby increasing safety for both truck drivers and the traveling public. After regressing the data into a model, however, it was found that wind speed was not a statistically significant factor in predicting such crashes. This finding agrees with some of the other literature on the subject and can be attributed to drivers altering their behavior as wind speeds change. From this research, we identified a dilemma zone of wind speeds in which drivers may not be making such a behavioral change. Furthermore, specific corridors in Kansas are identified as potential areas for the implementation of a warning system. It is recommended that Dynamic Message Signs be tied to weather data stations and/or lighted wind socks be installed on selected overpass bridges.