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AAA Report Shows Dangers Of Debris On The Roads

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new report by AAA reveals the growing dangers of debris-related crashes on the road.

According to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, debris on U.S. roads between 2011 and 2014 caused more than 200,000 crashes resulting in about 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths.

The study also found that nearly 37 percent of all deaths in road debris crashes were a result of the driver swerving to avoid hitting an object in the road.

"The really troublesome thing about all this is a majority of these crashes are preventable, if drivers would just take the necessary precautions to secure their load or maintain their vehicle properly," Tamra Johnson of AAA told CBS News.

AAA said most debris-related crashes happen in the middle of the day and said about two-thirds of crashes are the result of items falling from a vehicle due to improper maintenance and unsecured loads.

The most common types of vehicle debris include parts, like tires or wheels, becoming detached, unsecured cargo like furniture of appliances or tow trailers becoming separated from a vehicle.

AAA says drivers can take a few simple steps to help reduce their chances of being involved in a road debris crash.

Make sure to keep your vehicle maintained. Badly worn or under inflated tires can suffer blowouts that leave pieces of tire on the roadway.

Exhaust systems and hardware that attaches to vehicle can also rust and corrode, causing mufflers and other parts to drag and eventually fall off.

If you are hauling or towing something, make sure the load is secured. Use ropes, netting or straps and tie down large objects directly to a vehicle or trailer.

Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting and don't overload the vehicle. Also, always double check the load to make sure it's secure.

Finally, AAA says to drive defensively by avoiding tailgating and continually searching the road at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead for debris. If you see you are about to make contact with debris, safely reduce your speed as much as possible before making contact.

To see the full AAA report, click here.

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