Road Debris Active in More Than 200,000 U.S. Crashes
A study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in August 2016 that tracked the prevalence of motor vehicle crashes involving road debris over a four-year period found that there were more than 200,000 such crashes throughout the United States. The data showed that from 2011 to 2014, road debris accidents caused about 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths. The report found the most common types of debris to be:
- Detached vehicle parts
- Unsecured cargo
- Detached tow trailers
The AAA Foundation suggests drivers take the following steps to prevent debris from becoming active on the roadway:
- Vehicle maintenance — Tires and exhaust system parts are the most likely to become detached from the vehicle. Fully inflating tires and replacing worn tires can prevent blowouts, which are dangerous in themselves and create further hazards by leaving tire parts on the road. When exhaust systems rust and corrode, mufflers can drop onto the road. A trained mechanic can spot and correct this issue before it becomes a problem.
- Secure loads — Hasty or sloppy loading of pickups or roof racks can lead to disaster. Tie objects down securely to the vehicle and cover the load with a sturdy tarp or netting. Never overload your vehicle.
All drivers should take precautions against encounters with debris. Nearly 37 percent of deaths in roadway debris accidents occurred when a driver swerved to avoid an object. Debris-related car crashes are also more likely to occur on interstate highways. When driving, repeatedly check 12 to 15 seconds ahead and anticipate the need to move to another lane. Reduce speed when you come upon an object in the road. Try to maintain an opening to the left or right of your vehicle in case you have to swerve. Avoid over-correcting, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. And never drive close to an overladen vehicle. If you suspect that a vehicle’s load is not secure, back off and move to another lane.
Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson wants you to be safe on the road. We hope that information about the pervasive danger of roadway debris can empower you to take the proper precautions. But if you are injured in a traffic accident in the greater New York area, we can help. To schedule a free consultation, call 888.746.8212 or contact our firm online.