Helpful tips on how to avoid hitting road debris
Joey Azbik works in health care. He drives to and from Tuscaloosa each day. Azbik collided with tire treads from 18-wheelers twice in recent years. Total damage: $3,700. It could have been worse.
“It could make you have to veer to one side and hit a car on either side, or cross over one lane, and cause you to hit somebody,” says Azbik.
Azbik is always on guard for road debris when he travels. He also uses the free Waze traffic app to warn him. He says drivers make posts on the app if they spot a potentially dangerous object in the road.
We hit the road with AAA Alabama PR and Marketing Manager Clay Ingram. He gave us advice on how to avoid colliding with road debris.
Keep your distance
The most important choice: Keep your distance from the car in front of you so you can see as far up the road as you can. It’s a good idea to establish a 10 to 15-second buffer.
“A lot of times if debris hits you, or you hit debris, it’s because you didn’t have time to react,” says Ingram. “You didn’t see it in time to maneuver around it."
Don’t ride the shoulder
Ingram says make sure there’s plenty of room between your car and the shoulder of the road.
“You don’t want to ride the stripe close to the shoulder, because that’s the most likely place for debris to be.”
Leave room to change lanes
He also says leave plenty of room between your car, and other vehicles next to you, in case you have to change lanes to avoid debris.
“You need to resist that instinctive reflex to swerve unless you know for certain that the lane you’re swerving into is empty,” says Ingram.
When you have no choice but to hit the road debris
Ingram says if you’re headed for a collision with road debris, take your foot off the gas and slow down without slamming on the brakes.
Be sure you keep both hands on the steering wheel when hitting the debris.
Try to stay in your lane to avoid hitting another car.
If you hit a large item in the road, pull over in a safe place, far away from traffic, and check your car and tires for damage.