A North Carolina near fatality has been seen by millions of viewers on YouTube. The woman said as she was driving down the highway at approximately 45 miles per hour, when she noticed two trucks in front of her driving erratically and blocking the lanes. She decided to videotape their behavior with her cell phone camera. As she was filming (while driving) the truck in front of her hit a 2 x 4 piece of wood lying in the road. The wood went flying through the air and pierced the windshield of the women’s Kia Sedona. See the footage for yourself; this could have been a tragic accident. Fortunately, the woman only suffered a minor cut. There were no passengers in her vehicle.
This story raises some interesting questions. The woman was obviously driving while distracted. How could she possibly being giving her full attention to driving while videotaping activity on the road ahead of her. Even if she was just holding the phone to her side while videotaping keeping her eyes on the road, it was still risky and dangerouos behavior. It was still a distraction! If the woman was not videotaping at the time of the accident, could she have avoided the 2 x 4 smashing through her windshield?
Even the safest driver can encounter unforeseen circumstances, such as debris on the roadway. When this happens the driver may lose control or react too quickly by applying the brakes or change lanes. This increases the risk of a collision. Road debris-related accidents are usually caused because someone failed to properly secure the load on the truck. The debris doesn’t necessarily have to be large to cause damage. In most accidents, a driver is following too closely and is unable to avoid cargo that falls off or does not have enough distance to see debris in the road. Again, this woman was very lucky. Even a small piece of debris flying through the windshield at 45 miles per hour can strike a person with great force, inflicting life-threatening injuries.
If you are injured by road debris, it can be difficult to identify the negligent person(s) or company. For example, in this case, the 2 x 4 may have fallen off a construction truck because it was poorly secured. Linking negligence would be very hard because it is often difficult to identify the driver who is responsible for the presence of the debris. The best practice is to drive safely. Here are a few tips by AAA to avoid injuries from road debris:
- If you are carrying a load (bike, baggage, etc.) make sure it is properly secured on the vehicle.
- If you see road debris, pull off the road and report it immediately.
- Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles especially commercial trucks and large carriers.
- Avoid tailgating.
- Practice defensive driving. When debris is small, it is better to run over it than to swerve which can even lead to collision with another car.
- Be aware of the surroundings and look ahead up the road for any potential hazard.
- Drive responsibly. Don’t talk on the phone, text, or videotape while driving.
- Report unsafe vehicles and unsecured loads.
Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.