Imagine this, you are driving down the road, when all of a sudden a large mattress flies into your path causing you to quickly swerve out of your lane and, in turn, results in a horrible accident with two other vehicles! Accidents caused by road debris can be serious and sometimes fatal! As discussed below, accidents caused by road debris happen often.
Road debris varies in form. Road debris can be in the form of a shredded tire, a couch, tools, refrigerator, wood, animals, et cetera (essentially anything that falls into, or enters, the road).
You may sometimes be surprised with the road debris you encounter. For instance, a couple weeks ago, a tractor-trailer rolled over while traveling on Interstate 70 in a rural section of Illinois. The driver allegedly swerved to miss a dear when his truck flipped on its side on top of a median. While the tractor-trailer was on its side, about 11 head of cattle perished on a westbound stretch of the Interstate. The cattle wandered into oncoming traffic! The truck driver was not injured but oncoming cars hit some cattle.
Debris-Related Accidents are not rare
As it turns out, these debris-related accidents are not rare. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), in the United States, debris-related accidents result in more than 200,000 accidents and 500 fatalities over a four-year period between 2011 and 2014. AAA also reports that, during this four-year period, nearly 39,000 people sustained injuries resulting from road debris.
Most of the deaths resulting from road debris happen when a driver quickly swerves to avoid hitting the road debris. In a number of other incidents, a vehicle will either hit the road debris, or come to a complete stop in the road, causing a massive chain reaction of crashing vehicles.
How to avoid Debris-Related Accidents
Sometimes it is nearly impossible to avoid colliding with an object that suddenly appears directly in your path. Yet, fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to help avoid this type of debris-related accident.
First and foremost, it is important that you are able to see far ahead of you. You do not want your vision restricted to only the one vehicle directly in your path. If you keep your vision far ahead of you, this will allow time to change lanes if you are approaching road debris.
Second, if you are traveling behind a vehicle that is carrying a load, it is important that you stay back and keep your distance. If that vehicle does lose its load, this will provide you additional time to avoid colliding with the lost load. Better yet, if you are traveling behind a vehicle hauling a load, it is best if you not only stay back at a reasonable distance, but you should also change your lane so that you are no longer following behind such vehicle.
Third, as mentioned above, sometimes you cannot avoid colliding with road debris. If road debris instantly appears in your path, please do not attempt to swerve to avoid the road debris. In this scenario, it is better to just hit the debris rather than swerve and risk crashing into another vehicle or something else.
If you encounter road debris, and the debris poses a risk of injury to others, it is very important that you call 911. Emergency crews will be summoned to clean up the debris; hopefully before the debris causes an accident.
Take Action and Hire an Attorney
If you are injured from an accident and it was at the fault of another, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney for your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Fortunately, the Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have the experience needed to aggressively take on your case. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.