Whether you’re commuting for work, traveling for pleasure, or just going down the road for a trip to the store, keeping your eyes on the road is vital. Not only are there other cars to worry about, but road debris, such as tire shreds or hazardous objects, is a very real risk that can ruin your day fast.
Here’s how you can deal with road debris safely, what to do if you’re in an accident caused by debris, and how you can get legal help afterwards.
Road Debris Accident Facts and Statistics
The American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that over 50,000 crashes were caused by debris between 2011 and 2014, leading to approximately 9,805 injuries and 125 deaths. There are three main types of accidents that typically occur with road refuse, including:
- An object falling from a vehicle and striking another.
- A vehicle striking an object that’s loose on the road.
- Losing control when swerving to avoid a loose object.
Most, but not all, road debris accidents happen on the highway, where a sudden obstruction can be especially dangerous due to the high rate of speed and reduced time to react. A large portion of road debris consists primarily of shredded tire treads, refuse from garbage-hauling vehicles, and various construction materials, including lumber.
Avoiding Road Debris and What to Do After an Accident
The best thing that you can do for yourself as a driver to avoid accidents is to practice safe driving habits. Minimize distractions that keep your eyes or attention away from the road. Never text while driving, and if you’re the one hauling goods, ensure that your cargo is loaded and secured properly before hitting the highway so that you don’t cause accidents behind you.
There are times, though, when even the safest, most cautious driver is unable to avoid a collision with a piece of road debris. If you strike an object and you or a passenger are injured in the crash or your vehicle is damaged, call 9-1-1. If you’re able to get yourself or your vehicle out of the lanes of traffic to a safe location, do so. You may also wish to:
- Collect evidence about what happened. What did you hit, and where was it located in the road? Did you see it fall off of a vehicle, and if so, did the vehicle stop? What injuries did you or your passengers suffer, and what is the damage to your vehicle?
- Find witnesses. Did anybody see your collision or stop to help? Ask for the name and contact information of anybody who saw what happened.
- Identify parties that may be at fault. It may be possible to identify who is responsible, such as a cargo or waste truck with a poorly-secured load, or a company or government agency that negligently failed to remove a dangerous obstruction from the road.
- Contact a lawyer. A personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your situation, including the evidence you’ve gathered, your injuries, any police reports, and information from witnesses.
Pursuing a road debris case can be legally challenging if there isn’t enough evidence to clearly make your case. The unfortunate truth may be that you need to rely on your own auto insurance collision coverage if nobody can be found responsible, but before you do so, consult with an attorney. He or she will be able help you determine whether you have enough information to proceed with a lawsuit.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve been in a road debris accident and have questions about your legal situation, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We have decades of experience handling personal injury claims, and we can evaluate your case honestly and fairly to determine if you may be owed compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement, pain and suffering, and more. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our legal professionals, call us by phone, use the contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.