Concerns raised over highway debris after 2 fatal crashes

Posted at: 06/02/2014 5:58 PM
Updated at: 06/02/2014 6:35 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Debris on the highway has killed two drivers in one week on I-25 and I-40 in Albuquerque. They're accidents that might have been avoided.

All drivers have had to dodge stuff at one time or another, from two-by-fours to cinderblocks and toolboxes to luggage. But driving instructors say it's dodging that sometimes leads to disaster.

A driver trying to avoid a box on the highway slammed into another car Saturday night on I-25 near Rio Bravo, killing the other driver. A week earlier, a motorcyclist swerved to avoid a ladder flying off a truck on I-40 downtown and slammed into the truck, losing his life and critically injuring his passenger.

For decades, David McGinnis of Albuquerque's McGinnis School of Driving has been preaching this gospel to his students: 360 degrees. Be aware of everything around you, front and back, right and left. If you can avoid hitting an obstacle, do so – but sometimes, you just have to hit it.

"Traffic on both sides of you? Okay. You have got to grit your teeth," McGinnis said. "You have got to hold on tight, okay? Hold that wheel firm and just run right over that ladder. If it's a box, it's a box. You're gonna hit it, but remember, you do have protection."

On a motorcycle, you're probably out of luck, but in a car, you've got seat belts and air bags.

"Yeah, you might have a heck of a jolt and do a heck of a lot of damage to your vehicle by hitting a box, but it's better than hitting another car and possibly having death and carnage," McGinnis said.

Another good way to cut down on this type of accidents – secure those loads so you don't dump them on the highway. There are some severe penalties and serious fines driving with an unsecured load – worst of all would be the cost of somebody's life.