It’s bad enough we have to navigate through crazed drivers, road ragers and driving drunks, but there is another threat that seems to be falling from the clear-blue sky. Debris falling off trucks and cars is causing 3 million auto accidents each year. Auto body shops in PA alone see damaged vehicles hit by debris on a monthly basis.
Whether it’s a blown-out truck tire, trash, or furniture, road debris poses a serious danger:
•A Georgia Department of Transportation employee died after being struck along I-20 in downtown Atlanta while picking up a mattress and other debris.
•An assistant dean in the business school of Clark Atlanta University died after he swerved to miss a new clothes dryer that had fallen from a pickup truck onto I-75 north near Forest Park. The other driver involved sustained head and back injuries. He was charged with vehicular homicide for improperly securing the dryer and causing the accident.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the problem would be lessened if motorists just used common sense. In Philadelphia, PA things aren’t much different. There are obviously certain items that should not be hauled in a passenger car. For those items that can be safely transported, drivers are urged to double- and triple-check that their load is secure. The result can be costly trips to a PA or NJ auto body shop.
In many states, the penalty for commercial vehicles with an unsecured load is a mere slap on the wrist. The fine is usually under $50 and the offense is not considered a moving violation.
If you find yourself behind a vehicle hauling a loose load – BACK OFF. Give yourself plenty of room to react if debris hits the roadway. Safely pass the vehicle when you can.
Always scan for trash in the roadway ahead. If you spot debris in your lane, slow down and stay in the lane. Make sure there is no traffic before you change lanes and drive around the debris. If the debris is in another lane, be aware that drivers may try to avoid it by swerving into your lane without looking.