Motorists often think of road debris as a problem of dodging objects lying on the road. However, these objects got there after falling off trucks, cars, and other motor vehicles, which means they were airborne at one point. With little or no warning and only a windshield to protect you, another’s negligence can cause serious harm.
Common Causes of Flying Road Debris
- Vehicles running over debris. Debris lying on the road can get kicked into the air by the tire of the vehicle in front of you. Large vehicles, especially semi trucks, do this a lot. Their size also prevent seeing debris until it’s already airborne.
- Poorly loaded pickup trucks. While loads do fall out of commercial trucks, this problem often occurs among privately owned pickup trucks. The owners lack the training and experience of commercial truck drivers and often fail to properly secure their loads, if at all. For many types of loads, simply closing the gate isn’t enough. Air resistance can cause plywood or a ladder to lift up out of the truck bed for example.
- Improperly secured loads on top of cars. Motorists often underestimate the wind resistance against loads while driving at highway speeds. Attempting to hold a mattress down with one’s hand out of the window, with twine, or with bungee cords is inadequate. Large surface area objects such as mattresses and plywood develop tremendous forces when they catch the air stream above the car.
- Poorly maintained vehicles. Tractor trailer rigs can lose tire tread and sometimes an entire wheel. Loose trailer hitches on the back of trucks and cars may drop off. One of the more common objects are old mufflers that drag against the road until breaking loose.
How to Protect Yourself
- Increase your following distance. This gives you more time to react and take evasive maneuvers.
- Scan the road ahead. Sudden swerving or braking to avoid road debris may cause an accident with a nearby vehicle or may cause loss of control of your car. Scanning allows you to spot debris sooner and make safe lane changes to avoid them.
- Run over small objects instead of hard braking and swerving. When there is traffic behind and next to you, running over small objects is preferable to colliding with a nearby vehicle.
If you were injured in an accident because of another’s negligence, experienced Columbia car accident lawyers are available to give you advice. For a free no obligation consultation regarding your case, contact us.