Stayin’ Safe: One Man’s Junk…

junk in a truck
With an excessive load of scrap held in place by a cable, that vintage flathead V-8 engine, along with the rest of the load, could soon be on the road surface.

I’ll admit, there can be some really interesting things to be seen packed into the backs of trucks and in open trailers as they haul down the interstate. But, while it can be tempting to get a closer look at that pickup truck loaded to the sky with unusual scrap items, it is wiser to exercise caution around overloaded vehicles. Often, loose items are simply thrown on board and trusted to stay in place on their own. Or a weak attempt to tie things down is expected to do the trick. But at speed, with a little wind or a bump in the road, those items can break loose and topple to the highway, creating a serious hazard for motorcyclists.

Despite any draw of curiosity, it’s best to create extra space between loaded vehicles and ourselves. It’s also a good idea to consider how other drivers in traffic might react if an object falls from the truck or trailer ahead of them. We should have a planned response ready. Also watch for poorly fastened singular items, such as mattresses on car roofs and loosely secured ladders in truck beds (both are popular items to launch onto the roadway). Even displaced lightweight items such as clothing and trash can send traffic scurrying in all directions and some items can get caught in a motorcycle’s wheels.

Even with no loaded vehicle in sight, be ready for the remnants to be on the roadway at any time. Monitor traffic ahead and notice if any vehicles are moving around as if to avoid a larger object on the road. Items that are small enough to be straddled by cars can still be dangerous enough to put a motorcycle down, so keep a healthy following distance from any vehicle and anticipate the sudden appearance of a flying, sliding or emerging object. One man’s junk may be another man’s treasure at the flea market, but for a motorcyclist on the highway, it can be serious trouble.


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