We’ve all seen it at one time or another- the vehicle traveling down the road with a bumper or exhaust pipe tied to the body of the car with a wire, or the pickup truck with an overstuffed bed full of items stacked precariously high, unsecured and bobbing around with every move of the vehicle.
After witnessing events like these, it’s no surprise when you see random debris littering, and sometimes, blocking the road. This debris can be much more than an eyesore, however, it can often cause traffic delays and dangerous car accidents that result in injuries or fatalities.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently released a study that indicated there were nearly 200,000 car accidents caused by road debris between 2011 and 2014, resulting in 500 deaths and an additional 39,000 injuries.
The study determined that negligent vehicle maintenance and improperly secured loads were the cause of approximately two-thirds of all these accidents. In fact, among the most commonly seen troublesome items are detached automobile parts, including wheels and tires, and loose cargo, such as appliances, furniture and separated tow-behind trailers.
Research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Jurek Grabowski notes that the report demonstrates just how deadly, but also preventable, these accidents can be. By conducting regular maintenance on their vehicles and taking the time to properly secure cargo and other items before getting on the highway, drivers can save lives.
Overcompensating to avoid road debris at the last minute may actually increase a driver’s chance of losing control and exacerbate the situation, according to the study. Researchers determined that almost 37 percent of road debris accident-related fatalities are caused when a driver swerves suddenly to avoid hitting an object.
The most dangerous time for road debris accidents is between 10 a.m. and 3:59 p.m. Over one-third of these crashes takes place during this time when construction equipment is being moved to and from job sites and many people are hauling furniture or other heavy items.
Beyond safety, it is also important for drivers to understand that they can be fined- and in some cases, jailed- if items fall into the road from their vehicles.
To help keep everyone, including yourself, safe and out of trouble with the law, the AAA recommends the following tips:
- When driving, continually scan the road ahead for a minimum of 12 to 15 seconds to be prepared for road debris.
- Have your vehicle inspected and maintained by a professional on a regular basis.
- When moving large or multiple items, make sure they are tied securely. Use rope, straps, or netting to secure items. Never overload your vehicle. If using a trailer, make sure it is properly affixed to your vehicle.
Contact Our Pueblo Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident that you believe was caused by another person’s loose cargo, it is important to speak to an experienced Pueblo Car Accident Lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can help determine who is ultimately to blame for your accident and for your injuries. Contact Pueblo attorneys at Smith & Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.