Loose Objects and Dangerous Debris: Know the Risks and Avoid Them

The average driver has many loose objects inside their vehicle, like water bottles, purses, and children’s toys. These loose objects can inflict serious injuries in the event of a crash. If you’re driving along at 50 miles per hour and a car crash causes your vehicle to stop suddenly, a one-pound object will travel through the air and land with the force equivalent to a 21-pound object. A similar problem occurs with improperly secured loads on truck beds, as these objects can fly off the open truck bed and strike the following vehicle.

Reducing the Risk of Airborne Projectiles

Any loose object inside a vehicle can potentially become a dangerous, airborne projectile if a crash occurs. It’s also possible for a loose object to become wedged underneath your brake pedal. This will prevent you from stopping in time to avoid a collision. You should regularly clean out your car to limit the number of items that are left lying around inside it. Any objects that you need to keep in your car should be properly secured. Use your glove box, center console, and the netting behind the seats to secure these objects. If you have kids, consider enforcing a “take out what you bring into the car” rule to prevent the accumulation of loose objects.

Protecting Yourself from Dangerous Debris

If you’re driving behind a truck with an open bed or a vehicle that is hauling something, like a boat, you should assume that there is the potential for debris to come loose and fly backward to strike your own vehicle. It’s best to avoid traveling behind these vehicles whenever possible. Either slow down and maintain a significant distance or pass the vehicle. If you’re the one hauling loads, make sure all of the objects are securely tied down.

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