Road debris poses serious hazards to drivers

HOUSTON -- It happened recently here in Houston and it's becoming a problem nationwide: debris flying off vehicles, creating potentially deadly hazards.

March 3, a flying bolt hit and killed a man in LaPorte. Police are now asking the public for tips as to where that bolt came from.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Police - flying bolt killed driver on SH 146

It can come at you in a horrifying instant. Videos from across the country show mattresses flying through the air, a wooden plank turning into a potentially deadly projectile, and in Michigan, a trailer hitch that pierced the windshield of a car.

Stuart Roy was driving when he was struck by something he never even saw.

"Glass went everywhere," Roy said. "When I looked back up, there was this pitchfork in my car."

In Seattle, Gavin Coffee was alone in his car trailing a truck loaded with construction site material in back.

"A shelving unit fell out of the truck and caused a multicar accident," Heidi Coffee said. "Unfortunately my husband didn't make it."

AAA estimates more than 500 people died and about 39,000 were injured in accidents involving road debris between 2011 and 2014.

Many of these mishaps occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. - prime time for people moving things. Often on interstate highways, a driver may have only seconds to react.

"Make sure that you're not tailgating and scan the road 10-15 seconds ahead at all time so you can see if there is debris on the roadway," an AAA spokesperson said.

What should you do if you're driving and suddenly there's something on the road in front of you? AAA says if it's safe to do so, roll over it. Do not try to veer at high speed around the object.

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