Posted by : attorney stevelee

Debris, Fallen Cargo, and Road Damage: Three Roadside Dangers That Put You at Risk for a Collision

There are a lot of distractions that can pull your focus away from driving. Some of these distractions have been created by recent technological advances—cell phones and other electronic devices, for instance. Other distractions, such as talking with passengers and reading billboards, have been around for decades.

Scientific studies now show that no level of “multitasking” really provides safety for the driver and his passengers. A divided focus can mean a risky trip; the roadway is only truly safe when everyone is paying attention and there are no surprises.

Unfortunately, it’s the “surprises” that lead to more than two million car accident injuries—and 100,000 truck accident injuries—every year.

The Unpredictable Surprise

By definition a surprise is unpredictable. However, when it comes to driving, predicting other drivers’ actions and calculating potential risks based on those actions should be second nature. In other words, paying attention and focusing on the road should allow you to predict or sense when a driver has the potential to cause a collision—unless the cause of that driver’s actions is something unpredictable, like roadway debris or damage.

When driving, you expect to share the road with other cars, trucks, and vehicles. You don’t expect to share the road with boxes, chunks of concrete, or other debris. This lack of expectation can lead to a simple cardboard box causing a collision.

Debris and Road Damage

It’s important to know that you don’t have to crash directly into a vehicle to be injured by a collision. Loose trailer loads, highway debris, and poor road maintenance have killed and seriously injured many people in Texas and throughout the nation.

Unsecured loads

Truck accidents can be catastrophic without any impact between the car and the trailer. In some cases, a trailer’s load can become unbalanced and unstable. When this happens, the cargo can break through the trailer doors and spill onto the road, causing an unpredictable and dangerous obstacle course. Poorly secured loads can also cause the trailer itself to become unstable, increasing risks for rollover accidents.

The trucking industry has highly regulated loading rules to prevent such accidents. Loads should follow a specific formula for proper weight distribution and tie-down location, while also having routine inspections for load security. Drivers must also regularly check that the cargo remains secure throughout the trip.

Road damage

Highways and roads are the very definitions of “high maintenance.” Despite being made of durable material, roads require a lot of upkeep and repair. This task usually falls on government agencies at a local or state level, which also means that a hazardous condition on a road may go unnoticed or unfixed for long periods of time.

Poor highway maintenance

In addition to cracks and potholes, roadways should also be cleared of debris such as roadkill, trash, and discarded materials. Drivers aren’t expecting anything in their path, so when there is something, the driver may panic. Even a piece of cloth could appear to be something more dangerous and cause a driver to swerve or a truck to lose control.

As drivers, we have the right to assume that the roads we drive on are safe, well-maintained, and free from debris. A safe road is especially critical for truck drivers and other professional drivers, as they have a duty to maintain control over their rigs at all times.

Additional Support

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