There are many kinds of road hazards that can contribute to a car crash or traffic accident here in Indiana or Illinois. Weather conditions like snow, rain, or fog can form a hazard for us during the winter months, for example.
However, another kind of road hazard that is often underestimated as a cause of accidents here is road debris.
What is Road Debris?
In an accident case, “road debris” is a contributing factor in an accident or wreck. It can be many different things. It can be on the road itself, or off the road.
Technically, “road debris” in an injury case is any object or material that shouldn’t be on the roadway at the time of the accident.
Examples of road debris include:
- Trash (fast food bags, food items, furniture, etc.)
- Pebbles or rocks
- Ice patches
- Grease or oil patches leaked from car / truck traffic
- Road salt from de-icers
- Flooding waters
- Tree branches
- Tires or parts of a blown tire (especially dangerous, blown big rig tires)
- Construction materials (bits of dirt from a dump truck, lumber that has fallen off a supply truck, etc.)
- Dead Animals
Why is Road Debris Dangerous?
Road debris may not be big and may not seem that dangerous. A part of a tire on the roadway or an old grocery bag laying there in your path may not seem worthy of much concern. After all, you can just drive around it — or over it, as the case may be.
However, that is a dangerous assumption.
At certain speeds, road debris can cause you to lose control of your vehicle if you hit it or if you swerve to avoid hitting it. Some road debris can cause you to slam into other cars or into barricades, trees, etc., include patches of oil, grease, snow, or rain on the roadway.
Flooding can be considered a form of road debris. Too often, drivers underestimate the power of even slow moving water, or the depth of a road puddle, and end up in a serious accident.
Moreover, the type of vehicle you are driving may make you at a higher risk for injury than others.
Road debris is more risky for motorcyclists than someone driving a pickup truck, for example. The road debris can easily deflect the motorcycle’s wheel when struck, causing the motorcycle driver to lose control of his bike and crash.
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 25,000 accidents each year are caused by road debris.
Claims Based Upon Road Debris
Who or what parties may be liable for these injuries depends upon the situation. For instance, if a work crew left road debris in the form of overturned traffic cones and caused an accident, then that contractor (and others) might be legally responsible for the injuries sustained in a crash resulting from that cone (road debris).
If a major trucking company fails to monitor its trucks and the roadways outside its area are filled with grease and oil spots from the semi trucks, then an accident resulting from that road debris might be the legal responsibility of that trucking company.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving road debris, then you need to investigate your legal avenues under state and federal law for accident damages.