CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NBC Charlotte is taking a closer look at a driving danger you might not be ready for.
Dramatic scenes played out twice in the past week, after flying debris hit vehicles on the road, including a motorcyclist sent to the hospital.
Now, there’s a new message from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol about how you should respond.
You might be surprised to find out just how common it is. NBC Charlotte spoke to a state trooper who responded to three calls just on Monday about debris flying off vehicles. Each time was just as dangerous as the last.
It’s like driver dodgeball, but this is no game.
“It is very dangerous,” says Trooper Kennard Johnson, with North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Now, the state highway patrol is reminding drivers of the danger with a Facebook photo. It shows a trooper helping a woman after a brick fell from a trailer blowing her tire.
Trooper Johnson responded to three calls about unsecured loads just on Monday.
“A mattress in the roadway,” says Trooper Johnson. “After it fell off the vehicle, it struck the ground and broke into pieces.”
Within the past week, there was another case on I-85 where sheet metal from a truck hit a motorcyclist sending him to the hospital.
Also last week, a Charlotte truck driver had plywood smashing his windshield near Nashville, Tenn.
“The wood kind of stayed up in the air for a second before it came down and crashed into my window,” he said.
Troopers say if you can’t get the license plate number of a vehicle with an unsecured load, look for a company logo or USDOT number. They also say pay attention to the direction of travel.
“If you’re struck by debris pull over safely to the road, if you can, and call it in,” says Trooper Johnson.
Last year in North Carolina, unsecured loads led to 657 crashes, seriously injuring 179 people, and killing four. NCDOT says drivers caught improperly securing items could face fines of up to $2,000.
Trooper Johnson says if an unsecured item injures or kills someone, the driver could face criminal charges.