BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We all know potholes can cause major damage to our vehicles but there are other roadway hazards causing expensive damages and deadly accidents.
We're talking about tire debris from blowouts that are left on the highway. Chunks of shredded tire are commonly seen along the sides of Birmingham interstates where they're simply a nuisance.
The problem is when they're in the middle of the roadway.
"Large semi-truck kind of tire debris is the most damaging kind," said Tim Johns with State Farm Insurance in Homewood. "It's pretty common."
Johns says four to six auto claims a month at his office are from some kind of road debris, like pieces of tire. Hitting that debris can cost drivers a lot of money.
"We've seen it as significant as damage to an oil pan, even to the transmission if things get stuck inside the transmission," said Johns. "Damage to radiators, there's lots of damage that can come from that."
"It can not only be expensive but also be very dangerous," said Clay Ingram with AAA Alabama.
Ingram says a national study found that between 2011 and 2014, there were 200,000 accidents and 500 deaths caused by road debris.
"Thirty-seven percent of the debris-related accidents we see on the highway are the result of someone swerving to miss something," said Ingram. "Especially on interstates with high rates of speed trying to swerve in not a good idea."
"You're better off just hitting it and unfortunately handling the claim," said Johns.
An Alabama Department of Transportation spokesperson says it has crews that go out to clear the interstates and state roadways of debris.
If you see something on a highway in the Birmingham area, you can call their office to report it at 205-581-5600.