What Should You Do if You Hit Road Debris?

Atlanta roads and highways are infamous for road debris, ranging from litter tossed out of cars, to mattresses falling out of pickup trucks, to orange cones and trash cans rolling away from roadside construction. Even a horse and a cow have backed up highway traffic for hours this year. While some of the debris might make for a humorous traffic report, most of it is a road hazard and can damage your car if you hit it.

In some cases, road debris can result in a fatal accident. Atlanta drivers have been killed swerving to avoid objects in the road and then losing control of their car. An object as seemingly harmless as a grocery bag can stick to a windshield and impair a driver’s vision, leaving them blinded in traffic.

What to Do If You Hit Debris

When you hit road debris, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Make sure you are in a safe spot, away from any moving vehicles. Examine yourself and your passengers for injuries, and your car for damage.

If the item you hit fell off another vehicle or came from a construction site, try to gather as much information as possible about the other driver or the work site. In many cases, the driver who lost the item will pull over. If so, get their insurance and contact information. Consider calling 911, particularly if anyone was injured or your vehicle suffered significant damage. Just as you would report an accident caused by a moving violation, you should do so with one caused by debris.

If the driver in front of you didn’t realize they dropped something and continued going or you hit something that had been sitting in the road for a while, such as pieces of a blown truck tire or a tree branch from a recent storm, you still might want to call 911 and file a police report. Significant damage may warrant an insurance claim, and you’ll want to have a report from the accident site to file with your insurer.

In all cases, take photos of any damage and write down copious notes about the incident, location, day, time, and weather. Before moving on, make sure your car is drivable. Depending on where you hit the object, you could have undercarriage or frame damage. Call a towing service if your car is not drivable. If you or a passenger was injured, seek immediate medical care.

Avoid Swerving

While your first reaction when you see debris in front of you or flying at you might be to swerve out of the way, you could actually be more severely injured if you do so. While hitting an object straight on isn’t good, swerving and losing control of your car, hitting another car, or veering off the road into a ditch or tree in many cases can be worse.


When you hit something in the road, it’s generally considered a collision. If the item fell off a vehicle in front of you and you were able to collect information from that driver, you can file a claim with their insurer. Likewise, if the item blew off a jobsite and you can gather information about the construction company as well as have details on the incident, you probably have a good claim with their insurer. If, however, no one else can be identified at fault, the accident is usually considered your fault even though the debris was unavoidable and your car was the only vehicle involved.

If you’ve hit road debris and damaged your car, contact Bavarian Body Works for the best repair.

At Bavarian Body Works, we service many types of cars. When your car is damaged as a result of hitting an object in the road, we’ll examine it for mechanical, electronic, frame, and body damage and discuss all repairs with you in detail. Our first priority is always your safety, so we will ensure your car is returned to its pre-accident condition. Contact us today for more information.