KGNS On Your Side: Steps to take when you’re hit with highway debris

Published: Jul. 23, 2023 at 8:14 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tx. (KGNS) - Items such as furniture, mattresses, car parts and tires—these are just some of the items launched from cars and trucks onto the highway. So what happens if any of these items go airborne and you can’t avoid them? It’s a problem that can easily cause serious damage to your vehicle—and even worse, death.

“Every day there’s something out there—there’s never a dull moment,” says Raul Leal, Public Information Officer, Texas Department of Transportation. “Lots of times, the debris looks small but as you approach the debris it’s pretty big.”

Big items that can lead to an unavoidable accident that happens quite frequently according to the Texas Department of Transportation. They say nearly 1,600 crashes were caused by debris falling off vehicles between 2012 and 2015. Five people were also killed in that same time.

“There’s been small items to large items on the road, including some sofas we find out there, somebody drops them, and they happen to be on the side of the road,” says Leal.

So, what do you do if an object hits you? For starters, DPS Troopers say to get your vehicle off the highway as quickly as possible and onto a safe spot.

“If it’s not well lit, obviously turn on your hazards inside your vehicle,” says Erick Estrada, Public Information Officer, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Next, call for help. The number for Texas Roadside Assistance is located on the backside of new Texas Driver’s Licenses.

As for the debris you hit on the road, Trooper Estrada says to never pick it up yourself. “We don’t recommend you remove the debris from the roadway just because of the dangers of it. We do have specific groups that do that, especially with TXDOT.”

As quickly as debris falls from a vehicle, TXDOT maintenance crews across Texas counties are out picking it up. The public can help by calling a 1-800 number to report the debris or report it on their website. The number is 1-800-558-9368 and the website is The link is called ‘something on road’.

Both TXDOT and DPS officials ask drivers to secure all items in their vehicles to ensure they do not fall off. They also remind drivers to check their tires before hitting the road as the heat from the asphalt can reach temperatures of up to 130 degrees, causing lots of stress on tires that can lead to unexpected blowouts.

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