Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What is that thing in the road?

My drive to work this morning was rather exciting. It began on the James River Bridge, where I started getting pelted with little chunks of tire. It was everywhere, little shreds scattered here and there for well over a mile, far longer than I'm accustomed to seeing.

There was a rock-truck ahead, and I figured getting in front of it was going to be the best way to keep my car from getting banged up. So I sped up to pass him, but while I was passing him I noticed that all of his tires were intact. Then I saw something very large and out of place on the road: a tractor-trailer's wheel hub, complete with outer wheel, inner shredded tire, drum-brake, and axle stub. All in all probably around 700 lbs of steel and rubber coming to rest under the Bells Rd. overpass. I swerved, made sure the traffic behind me also passed it successfully, and put the pedal down to find out who had lost it.

Since it was still moving, I knew it had just recently come off. I hit about 100mph before finding the culprit: a big semi rolling down 95 S with a serious tilt to the right.

I got up to him, verified the damage, and pulled up beside him to flag him down. I waved him to pull over, which he did, and I told him about the damage. We went around to the back of the truck to inspect, and he said he didn't feel anything strange about the truck (ok, maybe, but it was leaning over significantly, and blocking his right-side mirrors).

Anyway, I have to assume that he got off the road, because he was clearly disturbed by the amount of damage. I wish I'd taken a picture, but I was kind of shaken up over the whole thing. That was the first time I'd ever pulled someone over on the highway.

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ev said...

That's kinda cool. I think I would've just called 911 and reported it.
Glad you didn't hit the large piece of truck in the road!

ahamos said...

Actually I did try to call the state police, but my call "could not be completed as dialed".

grant(urismo) said...

whoa - i'm glad you had the where-with-all to miss the truck debris and flag him down safely.

Daniel said...

All your autocrossing and road-track time trials just paid off! It may have even saved your life. See you Sunday ;)