Port aux Basques RCMP responded to yet another overturned tractor-trailer in the Wreckhouse area on Wednesday night, with winds gusting to 122 km/h at the time.
Two men were removed from the truck with the assistance of the Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department, then taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Although most incidents in which tractor-trailers blow over result only in injuries, Skinner fears there will be a fatality when one of these rigs topples.
He finds it difficult to understand why drivers ignore wind warnings in the area, especially with the recurring theme of trucks being blown over on the two-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway that is famous for its high winds.
While smaller vehicles usually get through unscathed, it’s high-sided vehicles that normally blow off the road and end up in the ditch on their sides.
Skinner said the majority of the drivers who take the chance in high-wind conditions are not local to the area. He said it’s amazing that, at times, there are 20 or more tractor-trailers parked at the former Irving gas station at Doyles and another driver will pass by and attempt to make it through the Wreckhouse.
He said there are numerous weather warnings, which start 24 hours prior to the winds coming up, and two digital signs have been posted on the highway — one at Mollychignic Brook, about 16 kilometres east of the Wreckhouse, and another in Port aux Basques, giving drivers ample opportunity to pull off and wait out the winds.
There are two warnings posted on the signs: one warns of winds of more than 80 km/h advising tractor-trailers to pull off the road; another advises of winds of more than 100 km/h advising all vehicles to pull over.
While the number of accidents has decreased since the signs have been erected, there are still those who ignore them.
“Drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk by attempting to drive through this area during times of high winds,” Skinner said.
Another factor is that even if the driver gets though without incident, he or she will likely have to wait anyway since the majority of the times when there are Wreckhouse wind warnings, the Marine Atlantic ferry won’t sail because of high winds in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Since Feb. 17, three tractor-trailers have left the road in the Codroy Valley area, with high winds blamed for each of these incidents.
“Common sense is a big part of it and all we can do is remind motorists to check weather conditions prior to travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway, especially in the Wreckhouse area,” Skinner said.