Household items can easily become deadly projectiles if they're not properly secured on a vehicle. Here in Maryland, police say it's something they deal with every day.
"I can't count how many times we've had to respond to a ladder in the roadway, a mattress in the roadway, a couch in the roadway," says Cpl. John Coby with MDTA Police. "Last week, we had to respond to a refrigerator in the roadway."
Starting Tuesday, extra officers will be patrolling Maryland roads as part of the "Secure Your Load" campaign.
Nationally, 10,000 people are injured and 440 killed every year due to debris related crashes, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
"The average speed limit on the highway is 55 miles per hour," Coby said. "When something falls off the back of a vehicle, that's 80 feet per second."
AAA has studied in the issue in the past, and says that crashes are often happen when drivers try to swerve out of the way. Christine Delise with AAA Mid-Atlantic says drivers can hit other objects or even drive off the road.
"So it's important that drivers really do not tailgate," she says, "and they constantly need to be scanning the road ahead of them."
Police suggest that drivers packing up their vehicle use plenty of rope or straps, use a sturdy tarp or netting, and make sure not to overload. Failing to do so may cost drivers a $90 citation.
"It's a hazard that faces Marylanders on a day-to-day basis and we're trying to combat it," Coby said.
For more information on AAA's study, head to www.AAA.com/PreventRoadDebris