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dimebag1980

Road hazards

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The thought of this topic came to me this morning as I commuted in. I felt sorry for the poor sap who had to hit the giant metal rod I saw lying just off the traffic lanes of the freeway. And he/she probably hit it during hours of darkness, making it even more dangerous and scary. And this last weekend I was going down the freeway through downtown, where there is very limited shoulder space, when a truck ahead of me started accidentally dumping pieces of 4x4 lumber all over the road. Lucky for me, I missed it... but some of the other drivers around me weren't so fortunate.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about how much more often these types of road hazards are showing up, and I wondered what kind of hazards other people around the country have either come across or hit.

Just over 3 years ago, I was driving down to Shreveport from Texarkana (I was spending my weekends up there at the time.) I was to be flying into Jamaica the next day to get married, so I was heading to one of the Holiday Inn hotels out by the Shreveport Airport. As I drove down the freeway, the traffic was pretty heavy and moving at a pretty good rate of speed (probably 70-80 mph.) At the last second, the car ahead of me started swerving to avoid a giant chunk of 18-wheeler tire rubber but couldn't. They hit it and sent it right underneath my car. When I got to the hotel, I got out of the car to imspect, and my rear bumper had a crack in it and I couldn't tell what kind of damage had been done underneath. Fortunately, as time would prove, nothing major happened other than the cracked bumper.

A couple years before that I was driving through Houston in a tiny Dodge Neon (P.O.S.!!!) and I ran over something. That car sat so low to the ground and one of the cheap rubber hoses to the transmission was exposed. When I hit the object, it sent transmission fluid spewing from the bottom of my car, and within 5 minutes my car died on me as I attempted to get off the freeway to gas up and check my car. I wound up stuck in Houston until one of my friends down there (thank goodness for friends in other cities!!!) came to help me out and allowed me to drive his extra car back to Shreveport until I could return for mine once the transmission had been fixed.

A girl I used to work with was travelling down a freeway bridge here in the city, which spans nearly 2 miles crossing an inner-city lake. She said she was going about 80 when, out of nowhere, she hit a metal ladder. A METAL FRIGGIN LADDER!! Apparently someone had lost it off their truck and wasn't brave enough to try and go back for it, as pulling over is hard to do on that bridge. As the ladder went underneath her car, it punctured her gas tank and did thousands of dollars in damage to her sports car.

So anyway, this brings me back to my original thought... what kinds of road hazards have you come across or actually hit yourself? If you hit something big or out of the ordinary, what was it and what kind of damage did it to?

A few years ago I heard where the DFW area was tops in the nation for dangerous road hazards, but it appears this type of thing is a growing problem for urbanites and suburbanites alike, all around the nation. And as we drive faster and closer together, it gets harder and harder to react to these hazards soon enough.

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In Phoenix driving is always an adventure. First of all Arizona drivers are infamously bad (as reckless as LA drivers and as stubborn as NYC's). During the winter is the worst time because thousands of elderly people flock here to escape the cold. They always drive like they own the road at 34 mph and have nearly ended my life with careless lane changes more time than I can remember. Also during this time ASU is in session and it's 50000 students (including myself) can turn any given Friday night into a drunken rat-race.

As far as the roads go, the entire massive sprawling Phoenix area is set on a near perfect grid with major streets every square mile. This makes finding anything in the area relatively easy but also means you can go miles and miles without ever driving around a curve. These extremely straight roads have a way of dulling your attention and largely because of this Phoenix is #1 in the nation for red-light-running and I see someone blatantly run a light at least 3 to 4 times a week. Another factor is the weather. Phoenix receives well over 300 days of sunshine a year and it's still pretty crazy in these perfect driving conditions. On the few days a year it actually rains all hell breaks loose as everyone still tries to drive 10 over the limit and shoot their ways into small traffic gaps. There are also other environmental factors such as dust storms which can reduce visibility to 20ft and high temperatures which can blow out worn tires which contribute to the valley's crazy driving environment..

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The winter time is always the worst in NJ. It seems like every week or two, i drive over a nail and then i gotta get the plug-ins so i dont get a tire blowout or something. I do see the county and state DOT's do street cleaning every now and then but not as frequent as the NYCDOT does with their daily street cleaning.

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You guys know what's funny? The next day after I posted this, I wound up running through concrete mix on the freeway after some poor sap hit 2 bags of concrete mix with a car or truck and busted them wide open. It looked like smoke all over the road as the cars drove through it.

By the way, I also consider people to be road hazards when they're running across the freeway from one neighborhood to another. People can be so stupid.

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People can be so stupid.

Sadly, its not getting any better :(

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i've hit the occasional tire piece, but nothing has happened to my car... some things i've seen that made me swerve include a mauled deer, guts everything. it was nasty.

but the one thing i "hit" on a highway was funny...

i was driving down 95 in CT in the right lane. there were a bunch of seagulls or pigeons sitting in the road, must've been pigeons, seagulls would've done damage. anyways, i was approaching them fast and they just sat there. before i could move to the left, a car passes me, so i have to drive through them. most of them make it over my car... well, all of them did, but one not so alive. bounced off my grill and flew over the top of my car. didn't take off fast enough.

there was also one time my mother was driving (or a couple times, i guess i could tell both crazy stories). the first was a seagull that she was approaching sitting on the road to our house. speed limit was 25, so it's not crazy. she drove right up to it and swerved around it. didn't budge. watched as the car behind us had to do the same thing. i think it was mentally disabled or something.

the other time she was driving and it was really snowy and slippery. anyways, she was coming down the street and out of a side street drives an old lady who didn't stop at her stop sign, my mom honks and honks and the woman just keeps moving. my mother ended up swerving into a snow bank. sometimes i think senior citizens need mandatory re-testing every couple years.

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Just yesterday the guy driving in front of me drove over a board or something. He never swerved, never even tried to avoid it, just shot it out behind him like a cannon into the front end of my car. Put a nice dent by my front passenger headlight....

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Just yesterday the guy driving in front of me drove over a board or something. He never swerved, never even tried to avoid it, just shot it out behind him like a cannon into the front end of my car. Put a nice dent by my front passenger headlight....

he's lucky there weren't nails sticking out of it... and you're lucky it didn't fly higher. that really sucks.

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Driving in northern Minnesota doesn't really mean a lot of confrontations with people.. but with wildlife.

I've personally hit one deer, been in the car when friends have hit 2.. and have had near misses with about 12 deer, various smaller animals (porcupines, skunks, raccoons, squirrels).. and a BEAR!!!

I have a friend who spent 3 weeks in ICU because she hit a MOOSE.. A MOOSE in an area where moose haven't been recorded in 100 years. Well, folks.. wildlife is creeping back into areas where it has been absent for decades.

There was a couple heading up to a resort on the Gunflint Trail in northeastern Minnesota that called and told the owners they would be late to check in because of traffic in Minneapolis. When the guests didn't show up, the owner thought they might be lost. On his way into town to check to see if they had been around to the gas station for directions, he found a car about 3 miles down a rural road on its side in the middle of the road.

Sure enough, it was the guests' car. A moose had been in the middle of the road and when the people honked to try and encourage it off the road, it charged hteir car and tipped it over!

I've also been on roads where trees have fallen over the road, they've washed out due to heavy rains...

And there's nothing like driving Minnesota roads during the first heavy snowfall of winter. There's bound to be accidents everywhere. I remember one particularly frightening night driving the 3 hour trek from school to home (at 5pm it's already dark in December). It wasn't snowing in St. Cloud and it wasn't snowing in Bemidji so I figured hte drive would be clear. Except there were snow squalls in between.

About 30 miles north of St. Cloud I ran into one snow squall and literally could not see 10 feet in front of hte car. You couldnt' tell where hte road ended and the ditch began.. and several inches of snow had fallen, and the plows hadn't been around yet.

I drove about 10mph for about 45 minutes with people in trucks blowing by me in what looked to be the left lane... then it cleared up.. with a bright moon in the sky.

One of my friends was driving on the freeway in Minneapolis years ago behind a truck with steel beams on the back. One of the steel beams actually slid back off the truck and went through the guys windshield into the passenger seat. Luckily he was alone in the car.. but it would have me thinking twice before following a big truck OR carpooling :)

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Had to avoid one of those pleated filters for a shop-vac yesterday! :) Wouldn't ahve done too much damage, but they bounce quite nicely at 65mph! A few years back near Berkeley, a woman (I believe it was) was killed when an automobile starter was shed by another motorist, went through her windshield. You wouldn't think they'd bounce, but they do. Retread is pretty common from big rigs.

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Had to avoid one of those pleated filters for a shop-vac yesterday! :) Wouldn't ahve done too much damage, but they bounce quite nicely at 65mph! A few years back near Berkeley, a woman (I believe it was) was killed when an automobile starter was shed by another motorist, went through her windshield. You wouldn't think they'd bounce, but they do. Retread is pretty common from big rigs.

the starter came out of the engine? does that happen often?

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Never hit anything, but I can tell you that the sad state of the California Interstate system takes a toll on a vehicle. We were always getting alignments done on our vehicles.

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Avoided a couch on the road the other day, just fell off a pickup. A semi did a good number on it behind me though!

:shok:

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the starter came out of the engine? does that happen often?

Honestly, I don't remember if it came free of the engine (I don't think it did). I'm 99.9% + that it came out of the back of a vehicle carryng parts.

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Honestly, I don't remember if it came free of the engine (I don't think it did). I'm 99.9% + that it came out of the back of a vehicle carryng parts.

ahhh, that makes a lot more sense. :)

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Avoided a couch on the road the other day, just fell off a pickup. A semi did a good number on it behind me though!

:shok:

A whole COUCH!?!? :huh: Wow, good thing you avoided that thing!

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A whole COUCH!?!? :huh: Wow, good thing you avoided that thing!

I travel about 50K a year with work, around another 8K-10K personal, you wouldn't believe the stuff I see on the sides of roads in pieces. Not to mention just the crazy stuff people do! I should write a book!

:lol:

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Yeah, a few years ago I was traveling from Hartford to Springfield Mass and I saw the back left rear axle or whatever of a truck come off. The whole wheel and whatever rod attaches it just started dragging then pull out the back, then it starts doing a little cartwheel right in trafic....

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i was on my way to a wedding in the waterbury area driving down 84 through hartford. we passed a car in the breakdown lane on the right missing the entire driver side rear wheel (rim and all). about half a mile up the wheel is in the left shoulder.

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I travel about 50K a year with work, around another 8K-10K personal, you wouldn't believe the stuff I see on the sides of roads in pieces. Not to mention just the crazy stuff people do! I should write a book!

:lol:

I used log in about 30K a year in miles for my car but as you may know about the Mazda, it died because i drove that car to death! I doubt ill be doing 30K miles a year now with my landcruiser and $3 a gallon gas. Im going to tryyyyyy to keep it under 15K miles a year if possible :rofl:

S. George, if your driving 60K miles a year and accident free (not at fault) year after year, you are the man! :thumbsup:

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i always see dead deer on the side of the road in rural areas in Michigan. I know several people who've hit them.

Black ice is a real hazard in the winter, you cant even see it, but is very very slippry. If your not carefull you end up in the ditch, which will really suck when its 10 degrees out and snowing.

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While living in Louisville, I had the misfortune of working in the southwest corner of the Metro, which includes the areas of Valley Station and Valley Village. Without stereotyping, these neighborhoods do not have the more well-heeled people in the city living there.

While travelling to and from work, I would go on the Gene Snyder Freeway. Every day, I would see things that had been dumped along side the freeway or even in the median strip. I saw couches, refrigerators, recliners, and much other stuff. You name it, and I probably saw it. One day going eastbound, I even saw a toilet setting in the emergency lane! It kind of gives a new meaning to the term Kentucky rest stop! :D

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Sometimes i think senior citizens need mandatory re-testing every couple years.

I absolutely think seniors need mandatory tests every couple of years. Especially around here.... old tourists love to come here and drive 10 mph downtown with their maps and tourist books sprawled out on their steering wheel <_<

Anyway, I've never actually hit any road hazards, but I do remember hearing on the radio that there was a matress on one of our major thouroughfares.

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I absolutely think seniors need mandatory tests every couple of years. Especially around here.... old tourists love to come here and drive 10 mph downtown with their maps and tourist books sprawled out on their steering wheel <_<

While I know it can seem degrading to senior drivers, I agree that they should be tested more often. And as your parents get older, you need to be aware of how good/bad of a driver they are. My father was a truck driver all his life, and even though he was still a good driver @ 75 he started getting less aware of things going on around him mainly due to hearing loss. There was one time we were at a traffic light with a police car behind us, lights on and siren blaring and he didn't hear it!! (It was daylight, so I kinda could overlook the not noticing the lights.) I was yelling at him to get out of the cops was and he just kept saying "What??"

He died in a single vehicle accident, he didn't respond to a curve and drove off an embankment into the woods, we think he had suffered a heart attack.

My mother had her own issues, she was a severe diabetic with diabetic retinopathy and almost went blind. She had lost her license due to this when dad died. Due to work with an excellent eye doctor in Greensboro, she got her vision restored to almost 20/20. She did get her license back, but was restricted to glasses, daytime only, and no interstates. But she limited herself to only the grocery store, drug store, doctor's office, my house, and emergencies if she couldn't get another way. She felt grateful to have her license back and was an excellent driver. I wouldn't hesitate to ride with her, she may have only done the speed limit, but she was very attentive and careful driving. She would have given her keys up the first time she questioned herself.

The state required mom to come back yearly with doctors tests and letters attesting her health and eyesight hadn't degraded to impair her driving. While it bothered and worried her, she came to understand that this was for her and the public's benefit.

Well, this was lengthy, but watch your parents and grandparents as they drive. They can be road hazards and hazards to themselves. But don't let them turn into the stories of driving thru crowds and hurting/killing people. If you have to have an intervention, do it. It won't be a pleasant or easy discussion, but let's keep them from becoming hazards and help keep them around longer. :thumbsup:

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I-95 was run along our Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike and the ramps onto the highway suit the road when it was just a 4-lane limited access parkway, but today, there's not that much room before the ramps end, or they plain empty into traffic. Then there is this ramp that used to have a toll booth at the end, but before it, two ramps come together. The straight-away ramp has the yield sign which few people pay attention to. The ramp with the right of way has limited visibility of the other ramp. I have to stop or slow way down when I have the right of way just to make sure some fool isn't zooming through the yield sign.

Then when I-64 and I-95 merge going southward, I-64 has 2 lanes that merge with I-95's 3, the left one goes directly into 95's right lane and often times people do not get out of that lane so people can safely flow into that right lane. The other lane from 64 disappears into this large lane that is also a lane to exit onto the Boulevard. I know I've had trouble merging past I-64 traffic at this point to get to the exit, and two cars can fit in the same lane... it just doesn't feel right. It can't be marked right.

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