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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Tie it down!

June 27, 2012
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It was a nice-looking wicker chair brand new and in good condition - and it was free. But I chose not to pick it up. It was lying in the middle of I-95! Seems it had flown off the back of a trailer hauling furniture (probably to someone's summer camp) and landed smack dab into traffic. I managed to swerve around it, but it took me moments to realize 'that was a wicker chair in the middle of the interstate!' I'm hopeful everyone else managed to avoid a collision with the wicker.

I've spent a lot of time travelling on the roads lately, and I've seen way too much stuff flying off of vehicles. The most common items I see coming off of vehicles travelling at rates of speed greater than 70 mph are plastic bags, cardboard boxes and plastic coffee cups. These typically are flying out of the backs of pick-up trucks. The more unusual items (in addition to the wicker chair) have included a plastic cover off a cooler from an ATV being towed behind a truck and a hammer off the roof of a commercial vehicle! The hammer incident scared the heck out of me. Fortunately I was at a safe distance behind this vehicle when I noticed an object fly off the roof of the vehicle in front of me. I hit the brakes and moved to another lane to avoid the object. When I realized it was a hammer I uttered some choice words out loud that I won't repeat here and thought how bad it would have been if that had been thrown into my car or worse yet through my windshield! Getting 'hammered' on the interstate is not the way I want to go!

While driving from Maine to Pennsylvania recently, I was behind a Jeep Wrangler that had a small blue bag secured under the rear window windshield wiper. I guessed the bag contained 'dog doo doo' and the passengers thought it would be better to keep the bag out of the vehicle until they could dispose of it properly. Ten miles later I spotted the bag in the middle of the busy highway.

Please understand that I am not judging. I am far from perfect when it comes to this issue; I've been guilty of leaving items on the top of my car and driving off. Sunglasses, wallet, pizza, cellphone. A friend admitted to leaving an entire salad in a bowl on top of her vehicle when she drove off creating a tossed salad in the street behind her! It's so easy to do this when we're too busy, too rushed and our hands are full. So please take extra caution especially as many of us are heading to camp and vacations this summer with more stuff on or attached to our vehicles.

If you own a business and operate a commercial vehicle with the name of your business on it, you need to be extra careful about what you're hauling and how you're driving out there. It's not good for business to cause an accident because you carelessly let something fly off your vehicle. Also, the way you drive will leave an impression on current and potential new customers. I was recently passed by a truck with the name of the contracting business painted on the sides. The driver was driving very erratically and irresponsibly with no regard for the other vehicles on the road. My first thought was, 'I would never want to do business with that contractor. If they are so careless driving, I wonder how careless they are with their business practices.' Remember, 'everything speaks.' If you are driving your business, you are leaving an impression about your business!

Whether you're driving for business or personal reasons, be sure you secure everything that could possibly leave your vehicle, check your roof for items you may have forgotten about and be careful out there! Keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles, and if you know someone who's missing a wicker chair, tell them it's somewhere northbound on Interstate 95!

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