PHOENIX - For most of us turning onto an onramp, it's an afterthought. That is, until suddenly, we see it.
"Paint cans on the road way, wheelbarrows, landscaping equipment, Christmas trees," Department of Public Safety spokesperson Raul Garcia recited of things he saw as a DPS trooper.
And then it becomes every driver's problem.
"They're all hazards," he said.
At a briefing Friday, he reminded all drivers who are transporting just about anything across Arizona roads that they are responsible for securing their loads. That includes everyone from the good friend hauling a truck bed full of furniture being moved to the trailer full of industrial equipment.
"Once a load becomes spilled on the roadway -- whether it's you or I with a class D driver's license or a commercial driver -- that's a separate violation," he said.
And sometimes, drivers have to make sure other drivers are made aware that they're hauling something big.
"If anything is going to protrude 4 feet or more, from the back of (a) vehicle," he said, "then during daylight hours there has to be a red flag on it."
He added that at night, vehicles have to have a red light to warn drivers.
So how do we avoid getting tangled up like the driver who rear ended a truck hauling sheet metal Thursday morning?
Garcia says remember the "two and three second rules": Under 45 miles per hour, keep two seconds of distance between you and the car in front. Over 45, keep three seconds of distance.
"A driver can easily look at the shadows on the overpasses and the vehicle in front of them and gauge that two or three second following rule," he said.
But ultimately, Garcia says, avoid any distracted driving behaviors.
"If you're paying attention, if you're avoiding distractions and you see these hazards," he emphasized. "You'll expect these hazards and you'll give yourself that time to steer evasively and avoid the incident altogether."