The Dangers of Road Debris



Thousands of car crashes are caused by road debris every year. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that as many as 200,000 debris-related car accidents, in which around 39,000 injuries were sustained, occurred across the nation over a four-year period. Although many types of car crashes have tragic consequences, accidents caused by road debris are especially frustrating because they are easily avoided when drivers use appropriate loading techniques and drive carefully and responsibly at all times. 

What Qualifies as Road Debris?

In its most recent study, the AAA reported that one of the most common types of road debris encountered by drivers across the country is comprised of blown tires. However, researchers also noted that a number of other dangerous types of road debris exist, including:

  • Fallen branches;
  • Furniture;
  • Construction equipment, including discarded signs and cones;
  • Car parts, such as fenders and hubcaps;
  • Rocks and boulders; and
  • Trash.

These types of debris pose a danger to drivers on any road. However, road debris is especially deadly on freeways because cars are much more likely to be driving at high speeds. 

Precautionary Measures

Fortunately, drivers can take a series of steps to help avoid these types of accidents. For instance, drivers who are hauling cargo should ensure that loads are carefully secured with tie-downs, straps, ropes, and tarps. The AAA report also found that around 37 percent of all debris-related crashes occurred when a driver swerved to avoid hitting an object in the road, which in turn, often set off a chain reaction of collisions. To avoid this, drivers are encouraged to drive defensively, which includes refraining from tailgating and being sure to scan the road for debris every 12 to 15 seconds. Drivers should also be especially vigilant at night when visibility is poor. 

Collecting Compensation 

Treating injuries sustained in a car crash can be prohibitively expensive, which makes it especially important for injured parties to obtain compensation from the responsible parties. Unfortunately, in cases involving road debris, this can be difficult because the driver may be required to identify the person who was responsible for leaving the debris on the road. This may be a driver who did not secure his or her cargo properly or a government employee who was aware of the debris’ existence, but negligently failed to remove it. Eyewitness accounts and police reports are often necessary pieces of evidence when attempting to establish fault in these situations. 

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Attorney Today

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand that sustaining an injury in a car or motorcycle accident can be not only painful but also emotionally traumatic. For this reason, we dedicate ourselves to easing some of our clients’ stress by aggressively representing their interests, whether in the courtroom or during settlement proceedings, so if you live in Phoenix and were recently injured in a car crash, please contact a member of our legal team today to schedule a free case evaluation. 


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