There are days when seeing the updated tallys on the mattresses and ladders which fall on local highways is merely rote. Just one more thing in a day of more things. But Sunday afternoon brought the consequences of these things on our roads to a dramatic head. It isn't funny and it isn't just one more thing, it's downright dangerous.
"A St. Louis man who was driving west on I-64 Sunday afternoon says he is lucky to be alive. His Honda SUV struck a box spring that was on the highway. He said a mattress was in the lane next to him and was run over by another vehicle. St. Louis Police say that box spring likely ruptured the SUV’s fuel line igniting a fire."
This happened at a very tricky and busy section of highway 40, just before the Tamm overpass where drivers must keep an eye out for cars merging from Hampton onto the right lane which will soon be an exit only at Clayton/Skinker. On a Sunday afternoon there would have been quite a few cars in all the lanes, drivers trying to get out of that exit only lane and many just zooming along. The boxspring landed in one lane and the mattress in the other. The advice given by highway safety experts which I've noted here before is to run into whatever is on the road rather than swerve into another lane and possibly hit another car.
In this case hitting the boxspring brought disaster to this man. His car went up in flames as he headed for the shoulder of the exit ramp to Skinker. "The box spring was wedged underneath his vehicle and the fire was spreading. He tried backing up but the box spring remained wedged underneath. “I got out and looked under and noticed the fire had grown a lot and decided to back away before I caused any harm to myself." He said one minute later his entire vehicle burning. He has a message for anyone hauling items on the highway."
His message is one which should be obvious: Tie down your stuff".
This situation is a real travel nightmare and while it seems silly to keep publicizing the tally, it's a regular warning to all of us to keep alert when we're driving on local highways. You just never know when you'll round a curve or come over a hill and find these things in the road. And, if you are going to travel with things like mattresses and ladders and desks and couches and anything else, strap them down tight. And when you think they're tight enough, tighten them again.
The Fox2 News link has photos of the aftermath. Be aware