A terrifying example of why loose loads make for dangerous roads

Having driven a pickup for most of my years in the USA, and covered tens of thousands of miles in them (and similar vehicles) in Africa prior to that, I’ve got a fair old collection of horror stories that I’ve seen, encountered and experienced.  Cargo improperly loaded, loads improperly secured, things coming loose under the stress of travel and falling off, sometimes hitting other vehicles . . . there are any number of examples.

The latest comes from Florida.  Click the image for a larger view.

A news report adds more details.

A driver in Florida is lucky to be alive after a large piece of plywood ended up impaled in her vehicle’s windshield.

The Brevard County Fire Rescue said in a Facebook post the incident took place on Interstate 95 in Rockledge, located about 20 miles south of Titusville on the state’s Atlantic Coast.

. . .

The plywood board was much wider than the vehicle and was hanging off either end of the car.

The driver, identified by Florida Today as 35-year-old Rebecca Burgman, had minor injuries but refused treatment at the scene.

There’s more at the link.

Ms. Burgman is a very, very lucky lady.



  1. I agree, terrible event. But, I will add one little bit of info…..if anyone has an accident or an event like this; ALWAYS go to the hospital. Never give up the chance to be checked out by medical professionals.
    What if you had an injury? Now that you refused to go to the hospital, you can't get compensated for your injury. Nine times out of ten, you won't have an injury, thank God. But, I've worked enough ER's to see people with hidden injuries from accidents, that initially refused treatment. And now 3-7 days after the accident they are seeking health care. And they are stuck with the bill. ALWAYS go to the hospital.


  2. I drive a lot in my job and this shit pisses me off.

    The driver of the Honda could easily have been killed. It was only the luck of the wind that caused that sheet of plywood to strike her windshield just so. Rotated 90 degrees and that sheet would have gone on through and probably decapitated the poor woman.

    This was gross negligence and the asshole that failed to secure his load should have gone to jail.

    In my day to day driving, I see this all the time. Next time you are out on the interstate, look around. See all that trash on the side of the road? Where do you suppose all of that comes from. Most of it comes out of the backs of trucks. Do you think people throw cardboard boxes or 5 gallon buckets out of their window? And how many times have you seen some doof driving around that has been using the bed of his pickup as a trash bin, and is now shedding all of that junk alongside the road. I saw a truck lose a bucket of paint once. Everyone nearby got speckled. It missed me, but I nearly got hit in the ensuing melee of other drivers trying to miss the mess. Meanwhile, Cletus drove on oblivious.

    If I were a cop and it were up to me, I would spend a lot of time writing tickets to those jokers.

  3. My closest call was on a motorcycle. A flatbed truck ahead of me lost a stack of lumber, something like 2" x 12" x 12ft. They blossomed into the air and rotated 90 degrees edge on to traffic. Looked like an explosion, and covered most of the freeway. I had to duck to avoid being decapitated by one of them. I expected to find a skid mark on the back of my helmet, it was that close.

    People don't understand the forces involved from moving air. Realize that small aircraft can take off at highway speeds. I patrolled the freeways in the San Jose area, and the objects I would find that levitated out of the back of a truck were many and varied.

    The biggest single item I encountered was a brand new full sized couch (~8ft long), wrapped in plastic, sitting on it's feet smack in the middle of the roadway. I put my push bumper against it and steered it over to the shoulder.

    It was gone in 20 minutes. Which was very unusual, as virtually no one ever returned to attempt to retrieve lost items. In some cases they may not have noticed until reaching their destination, but I suspect that most don't want to deal with the perceived liability. Fact is, in CA, once the item stops moving before you hit it, legally it's your responsibility for the results.

  4. I was "that guy" once, transporting full sheets of plywood strapped, inadequately, to the roof of my car.
    At least I had the sense to stay on surface streets at around 20 MPH. Which was still too fast; coming down from a rise in the road, I saw the leading edge start to lift, so I hit the brakes, whereupon the whole mess went flying on forward. Oopsie!
    No damage to anything except my sense of knowing what I was doing. Which clearly needed damaging.

  5. Eric:
    yep, objects in motion tend to remain in motion.
    I demonstrated the opposite law, objects at rest tend to remain at rest:
    Popped the clutch in my '66 Ranchero at a green light, and left several sheets of plywood sitting in the lane. Coefficient of friction between painted metal and plywood was insufficient to overcome the mass. Didn't think straps were needed for puttering around the city streets. Duh! Lesson learned.

    I had to learn the "vehicles with loose objects" rules on my own, to counter the bad "training" I had picked up from my father. Some of the few remaining memories of childhood was being concerned about his seeming lackadaisical view of loose items he would carry in/on his pickups and towtruck. In retrospect, I can see he was engaging his ADHD by pushing the envelope of what he could get away with. Risk-taking is how they get the brain fired up to function better. Wasn't obvious that he was using his 27 year experience advantage to play the game.

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