When Car Accidents are Caused by Road Debris
If you spend enough time on the road, there’s a very good chance that your windshield will get damaged along the way. One very common scenario drivers encounter is having their windshields get cracked by a small stone being kicked up by a vehicle driving in front of them. This can very easily happen even when all drivers involved are driving in a safe, responsible manner. In these types of situations, nobody gets hurt and the damage may be minor enough to be repaired without replacing the entire windshield. But on the other hand, there are times when car accidents can be caused by other types of debris in the road and those can potentially be much more serious.
In 2016, AAA reported that car accidents caused by road debris resulted in about 39,000 injuries and over 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014. They also found that about two-thirds of all crashes caused by road debris were the result of items falling from vehicles. Very often, this happens when people are trying to transport items like furniture and fail to properly secure the objects. These types of accidents can also be the result of poor vehicle maintenance, such as if a part of a vehicle becomes so corroded that it falls off and causes another driver to crash. If a vehicle is towing a trailer, the trailer could be considered debris if it isn’t properly secured and becomes detached.
All drivers, regardless if they’re a non-commercial driver or if they’re working as a professional driver, have a responsibility to do their part to help keep debris out of roadways so that these types of accidents can be prevented. Every state in the country has laws that make it illegal for objects to fall from vehicles while the vehicle is being driven. In the state of Michigan, under MCL 257.720, people who are found guilty of allowing debris to fall into the road are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500, up to 90 days in prison, or both.
To protect yourself from road debris car accidents, the best things you can do are stay alert, scan ahead in the roadway for debris in the road, and leave plenty of following distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you. Doing these things will give you the best chance of avoiding an accident. If hitting a piece of debris is unavoidable, try to slow down as much as possible before you hit it. Try to avoid swerving to avoid debris in the road. About 37% of all fatalities involving road debris crashes were caused when a driver swerved to avoid the object.
If you or a loved one was hurt or injured in a car accident caused by road debris, don’t hesitate to contact a motor vehicle lawyer as soon as possible so that you can learn about your legal options. If a vehicle is overloaded and items aren’t properly secured, it’s very easy for people to get hurt and a lawyer will be able to help answer any questions you have about your case. At Goodwin & Sceiszka, we have lawyers who are experienced in handling Michigan car accident cases involving standard passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks, so regardless of which other type of vehicle was involved in your accident, we can help. Contact us today to get started.