Road debris car accidents have become a significant safety concern for drivers across the United States. As more and more vehicles travel on the country’s highways, the risk of encountering debris on the road continues to rise.
These accidents can result in severe injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation with an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm.
The Prevalence of Road Debris Car Accidents
According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris was a factor in an estimated 50,658 police-reported crashes, resulting in 9,805 injuries and 125 deaths annually in the United States between 2011 and 2014. These figures indicate a significant increase from the previous study conducted in 2001, which estimated that road debris contributed to 25,000 crashes and 81-90 deaths in that year alone.
Debris-related crashes are more likely to occur on Interstate highways, where vehicles travel at higher speeds. Additionally, drivers who are involved in these accidents are 20% more likely to be men.
Causes of Road Debris Car Accidents
The majority of road debris car accidents, approximately two-thirds, are caused by items falling from vehicles due to improper maintenance and unsecured loads. The most common types of vehicle debris include:
- Parts becoming detached from a vehicle (tires, wheels, etc.) and falling onto the roadway
- Unsecured cargo, such as furniture and appliances, falling onto the roadway
- Tow trailers becoming separated and hitting another vehicle or landing on the roadway
These incidents typically occur between 10:00 a.m. and 3:59 p.m., when many people are on the road transporting heavy items like furniture or construction equipment.
Consequences of Road Debris Car Accidents
Road debris car accidents can have severe consequences for both the individuals involved in the crash and other road users. Some of the potential outcomes include:
- Injuries: Road debris crashes can result in a range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to more severe trauma, such as broken bones, head injuries, and internal organ damage.
- Property Damage: Vehicles involved in these accidents often sustain significant damage, which can be expensive to repair or replace.
- Fatalities: As mentioned earlier, road debris car accidents can result in fatalities. Almost 37% of all deaths in these crashes occurred when a driver swerved to avoid hitting an object on the road.
- Traffic Disruptions: Debris on the roadway can cause traffic disruptions, leading to congestion and delays for other road users.
Preventive Measures: Maintaining Your Vehicle
To decrease the chances of being involved in a road debris car accident, drivers should take proactive steps to maintain their vehicles properly. This includes:
- Tire Maintenance: Worn or underinflated tires can suffer blowouts, leaving pieces of tire on the roadway. Regular tire inspections and maintenance can help prevent these incidents.
- Exhaust System Maintenance: Exhaust systems and their attaching hardware can rust and corrode over time, causing parts to drag and eventually break loose. Trained mechanics can easily spot potential exhaust system problems during routine maintenance, such as oil changes.
Preventive Measures: Securing Vehicle Loads
When transporting items or towing furniture, drivers must ensure that all objects are secured to reduce the risk of road debris car accidents. Some tips for securing a load include:
- Tie down the load with rope, netting, or straps
- Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
- Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
- Avoid overloading the vehicle
- Double-check the load to ensure it is secure before driving
Defensive Driving Techniques
In addition to maintaining their vehicles and securing loads properly, drivers can also practice defensive driving techniques to reduce the risk of road debris car accidents. These strategies include:
- Avoid Tailgating: Maintaining a safe following distance allows drivers more time to react to debris on the road.
- Scanning the Road Ahead: Continually search the road at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead for potential debris.
- Reducing Speed: If a driver spots debris on the road, they should safely reduce their speed as much as possible before making contact with the object.
Legal Consequences of Road Debris Car Accidents
Drivers who fail to secure their loads or maintain their vehicles properly can face legal consequences, such as fines, penalties, or even criminal charges, in the event of a road debris car accident. Additionally, individuals who are injured or suffer property damage due to road debris may have grounds for a personal injury or property damage claim against the responsible party.
If you’ve been injured in a road debris car accident, talk to an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida.