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Spilled truck contents can present road dangers

Getting into a collision with a commercial truck is frightening enough to think about. However, trucks can present a real problem on California roads even if they do not crash into your vehicle. Many trucks on the highway ferry heavy cargo, to stores and warehouses, but sometimes these trucks do not make it their destination without incident, which can cause hazards for nearby motorists.

At times a commercial truck ends up blowing a tire or driving off the road and colliding with a guard rail or another obstacle. When that happens, the truck could spill its cargo across the road and right into the path of oncoming traffic. Not only does the crashed truck present a danger to motorists, but the discarded contents can pose a hazard to drivers approaching the scene.

KNBC Channel 4 reported on an incident in October 2018 involving a truck carrying a cargo of red bell peppers. On a Friday night, the truck hit a ditch and overturned, spilling its cargo in the process. The incident did not cause injury and by the next morning, the road lanes were reopened. But while some truck spills are easy to clean up and do not pose a great risk of injury, others can be much more dangerous.

In a recent report, Fortune chronicled a particularly dangerous truck spill that occurred in the Bay Area. A truck ejected three hundred gallons of acid across Interstate 880. The spill was a combination of nitric and phosphoric acid that caused multiple hazards across the immediate area. The acid ignited nearby vegetation, causing a blaze, and the acid let off vapor plumes that were deemed so toxic that authorities called upon residents in the area to shelter in place. The California Highway Patrol had to close off traffic on the interstate in each direction.

In short, spilled contents from a truck can cause great damage to persons and vehicles on the road and even produce other health hazards if chemicals are involved. Be vigilant if you see spilled glass, nails or anything that does not belong on the road in front of your vehicle as you approach.

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