What is Tire Debris and Who’s Responsible For the Damages?

You are driving down the road, and unexpectedly you encounter tire debris. It is one of the significant dangers to which the drivers do not give much attention.

However, every car owner and driver should take note of the road debris and pay attention for the sake of their safety and that of other passengers.

The road debris is usually in the form of tires, tools, trash, junk, and other tools on the roads that might hurt your car or the passengers inside the vehicle.

Tire debris often happens on the roadway across the country and leads to a lot of property damage. Most of the time, people suffer injuries, and in worse situations, death happens.

When the losses caused by tire debris happen, the bigger question will be who is responsible for the loss?

This article covers everything you need to know about tire debris.

What is Tire Debris (Road Gators)?

Tire debris, also known as road gators, are pieces of truck tires left on the road due to tire blowouts. Road gators are usually bigger than debris pieces left by your vehicle and even more dangerous due to their size.

Gators will mostly happen due to high speed, higher temperatures, and traffic.

Gators are likely to happen on highways since vehicles are likely to have blowouts, mainly on the streets.

Also, high temperatures increase the risk of tire debris, and areas with truck traffic are likely to have tire thread debris.

Another instance where you should expect to have more tire debris is in the daytime when drivers propel heavy cargo.

Some of the causes for road debris include vehicles from poorly maintained cars, poorly attached tow trailers, and unsecured cargo.

Who is Responsible for Road Debris Damage?

The owner and the car driver that has caused the road debris are responsible for the damage.

So, is there any compensation if you incur any damages due to road debris?

Yes, how the damage has occurred to your car will determine the type of insurance that might cover it.

Since the situations vary, the following determines the compensation;

Comprehensive Insurance- If the road debris flies via the air hitting your vehicle, Umbrella coverage or Homeowner will cover part of the damage.

Collision Insurance Coverage- If you run over debris causing damage to your car, your collision insurance coverage will help even if you are unaware of who caused the waste.

If you don’t have collision coverage, you can apply the other coverage modes.

Liability Insurance (of the driver)-If you have experienced damage due to debris on the road and have proof that the damage was because of negligence, for example, a person fails to secure a load, or someone throws something out of their car’s window. That person or the vehicle’s owner is responsible for every loss, including death and injuries.

So, if the owner or the driver has liability insurance cover, it will help compensate for the losses incurred.

Unfortunately, the debris flies off a car most of the time, and the driver keeps going. So, the driver might not even know if the debris flew or has fallen off their vehicle.

Uninsured motorist coverage pays for the damage because of the negligence of an individual who left the scene without identification.

Having the right coverage is only part of your battle, but you will also prove that the debris resulted in your injury, and you can’t trace the driver, the vehicle owner, and you lack enough insurance for your loss.

Dangers of Tire Debris

It would help if you were careful about roadside debris because of your safety and liability.

Tire debris poses a danger to your safety, and it can cause injuries, deaths, and severe damage to other vehicles and road users.

For instance, a tool handle on the road in Tacoma, Washington, nearly killed a driver. In Auburn, Washington, a truck driver tried avoiding a loose tire, unfortunately, his vehicle flipped, and he died on the spot. In New York City, a driver died after being hit by scrap metal, and in Los Angeles, a stove that fell from a pickup killed a Deputy Sheriff.

Most of the time, when the driver avoids roadside debris, they might change lanes or make an evasive move, which is dangerous and might cause a wreck (Source )

If debris falls from your car, the authorities can charge you with a crime if the trash causes an injury or death to other road users or drivers.

Also, if a driver allows waste from their cars to hit other people or cause accidents, they will be charged with hefty fines and even lose their licenses.

Therefore, you should always check for any obstacles or dangers and escape safely.

If you have cargo, ensure it is secured fully, and when you see any roadside debris ensure you alert the authorities to remove them.

Other dangers of tire debris include;

  • Damage to the car’s undercarriage
  • Pop a tire
  • Damage to the auto body paint
  • Cause serious injuries
  • Cracking the windshield
  • Lead to accidents
  • Cause to loss of lives

How Can We Prevent Road Debris?

You will encounter road debris on the road at any time; therefore, always prepare yourself.

To prevent vehicle damage, here is what you should do;

1.  Always Stay Alert

You should always be watchful and look out for any potential dangers. You also avoid distractions while on the road, like turning off your mobile phone.

It will help you stay alert and focused and ensure you can spot any road debris on your way.

2. Avoid Sharp Turns

When you are driving around debris, avoid sharp turns at all times. Taking sharp turns is likely to make you lose your focus and control of your car, causing an accident.

Therefore, drive with a lot of caution, and you will have no trouble avoiding debris before they damage your car or get you in an accident.

3. Avoid Tailgating

When you maintain a safe distance between you and other road users, it increases your safety.

For instance, if you drive closely behind the other person, they will slam their brakes immediately in case of debris on the road.

However, if you are at a safer distance, you are likely to stop your car entirely before reaching the vehicle ahead of you.

4.  Navigate Around Debris

When driving, ensure you slow your car down as soon as you see it or if you come across the debris.

At the same time, do not just slam your brakes because the driver behind you might lack adequate time to stop their vehicle, which may result in an accident.

If road users understand the risks of road debris, they can help prevent them from becoming a problem.

Drivers should take note of the following factors which increase the damages and other risks of road debris include;

  1. Travel speed– Speed is the primary cause of road debris. When cars travel at a very high speed, they increase the risk of their components and cargo falling off.
  2. Swerving – when a driver encounters road debris, they might bend unexpectedly, leading to even more damage or accidents.
  3. Time of the day- most drives move heavy items in the morning or afternoon. It increases the risk of damages and accidents at that time of the day.

Therefore if the drivers and other road users carefully follow the above tips, they will stop the risks and damages of road debris.

Final Thoughts on Tire Debris

It would help if you understood that your tire debris is your responsibility. Therefore, make sure your tires are in good condition. If your car has a blowout causing an accident to another vehicle on the road, it is your responsibility.

Having proper tire maintenance is the key to avoiding tire debris. It would also be best to rotate your car tires more often to prevent uneven wearing out of your car tire.

At the same time, always stay focused and alert of any problems you might encounter. It will help you avoid dangerous tire debris and other risks associated with injuries, accidents, or even death.

You should also make sure to stay alert to any problems you may see. It is good to avoid driving over dangerous road debris.

Also, if driving with large objects, ensure they are fastened securely to your vehicle for safety and avoid debris that might cost you.

Last but not least, if your tires debris damages your tires, take them to a technician for repair or tire change.


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