Rocks, debris and metal: When Houston drivers have to dodge flying hazards on the road

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A driver who was likely just inches from her death on the North Freeway is crediting her driving experience for helping her to stay cool.

Ashley Laudermilk was on I-45 near FM 1960 on Wednesday afternoon when a metal pipe she saw flying through the air smashed through her windshield, lodging itself in her car.

"There was no reaction time. It flew. It went from the ground up... and then BOOM and that was that. And I had to drive after him a few miles," Laudermilk explained.

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The pipe went airborne before it came crashing through a woman's windshield on the North Freeway.

She was driving southbound in the middle lane of the North Freeway with traffic all around her. The car in front of her hit the pipe and sent it flying through the passenger side of her car.

As the owner of a trucking company who emphasizes safety, she knew others' lives could be at stake if she tried to swerve.

She says she wasn't even sure the driver in front of her was going to stop. The driver did stop to help her. Now, after the traumatic experience, she says she feels blessed.

"Thank God, thank God, thank God," Laudermilk said. "It didn't touch me here."

This incident was far from the first time Houston drivers have had to dodge metal objects while behind the wheel.

In March, Bernice Castro and her husband Joe were on the Beltway near West Road when a rock flew through their windshield. Joe was nearly hit in the chest.

"If it would have been six inches higher, it would hit my throat area or my facial (area). I would have been knocked unconscious and you never know what could have happened," Joe said at the time. Both of them were okay.

Driver hit in the chest when rock flies into windshield on Beltway near West Road

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Driver hit in chest by rock that went through windshield

On May 5, 2017, a large piece of metal crashed through the windshield of a vehicle after a truck hit a bridge on the Eastex Freeway at the 610 North Loop.

The metal impaled the vehicle's windshield. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

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Our crews saw large chunks of concrete and a massive piece of metal that somehow crashed through the windshield of a vehicle

While traveling on Highway 225 in 2015, a couple was nearly decapitated by road debris. They managed to avoid traffic and pull their vehicle safely into an emergency lane.

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The ordeal happened on Highway 225.

Unfortunately, not everyone has been able to escape when hazards appear on the roads.

In March 2017, police say a large bolt that likely flew off a flatbed trailer hit a driver in the neck, killing him along State Highway 146.

Police recommend that drivers try to avoid driving behind trucks with loaded equipment, be mindful of any road debris and try not to panic.

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Man killed after road debris accident on Highway 146, Kaitlin McCulley reports.

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