Thursday, November 30, 2023


Cutting it close: Lawnmower blade comes through windshield

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
It’s another one of those, minding your own business but life has other ideas, stories. This time it was for Laura Drum and her husband, motoring down Texas Interstate 635 on a quiet Saturday morning. The newlyweds (married last October) were heading into Irving, Texas, for a little shopping. My, how plans change when a lawnmower blade comes through your windshield.

Terror by Toro

Laura’s husband was at the wheel, keeping up with traffic at 70 miles per hour, when the car ahead of them hit some road debris. Laura thought it was just some ordinary stuff, litter, a piece of somebody’s bumper left over from a fender-bender. But no, it was terror by Toro (or some other brand) in the form of a 20” lawnmower blade, tossed up by the tires of the other car.

Hubby swerved, Laura ducked, and maybe those actions prevented a worse outcome. Nevertheless, the flying grass-demolisher demolished the passenger side of the windshield. They pulled the car over for a quick investigation, thinking whatever the object that hit them was, had simply gone on by. Unlike a passing asteroid, the object of their unwelcome close encounter of the third kind made itself a house guest. The lawnmower blade came through the windshield and stayed on board.

Embedded in wife?

Lauren Drum photo

It was only when the car was stopped that Laura finally saw the blasting blade. The lawnmower blade indeed came through the windshield on the passenger side. Moving at a speed fast enough to elude the human eye, it buried itself in the door panel – right next to Laura. As she extracted the alien object, her husband nearly had a fit. It looked, from his perspective, as if the blade had embedded itself in his wife. And in the flight trajectory, it also made major cracks in the passenger side window.

Have you had this experience?

Imagine explaining to your insurance company just how the lawnmower blade came through your windshield. But the adjuster ought to be happy – no bodily injury claims here of any substantial sum. Laura suffered a minor cut. That’s not always the case – here’s some interesting information about just how serious road debris encounters can be.

Have you ever had a close encounter of the road kind? We’d like to hear from anyone whose suffered an unidentified (or identified) flying object from the roadway.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Paul S Goldberg (@guest_178652)
1 year ago

Traveling on US 20 East of Buffalo to avoid yet another stretch of interstate (I90) that I know too well when I came across a stacking desk chair in my lane, it is was twilight so hard to see. I hit it square in the center of the rig. It went under the radiator and stuck against the front axle. The noise drew the neighbors and we were able to extract the remains and head on down the road. All the damage was serious scratch on the front axle.

KBowden (@guest_132897)
2 years ago

I was following an 18-wheeler down the interstate when it picked up a square piece of sheet metal – I’m guess it at about 2′ x 2′ – it happened really fast and I didn’t have time to do anything but try to swerve to avoid the flying plate. It struck the right front of the car, taking out the radiator, air conditioning, fan belts, and other body damage. No injuries and I was able to safely pull into the median to get out of traffic to begin the long wait for a AAA tow.

Pat Brown (@guest_132813)
2 years ago

I remember several years ago in Atlanta a dryer just purchased from Home Depot fell off a pickup onto one of the major interstates. The person who hit it died. No one fessed up to losing the machine. They identified the driver of the pickup by tracing the serial number off the washer to a purchase from Home Depot. Here’s the story:

Lorraine B (@guest_132801)
2 years ago

Coming back from Alaska on the Alaska “highway”. Had just crossed over into Canada. Happened to notice a pickup truck passing us in the opposite direction. Next thing is the sound of glass being smashed, glass all over the dashboard, and my driver side window pretty much gone. Pulled over to the (not very wide) side of the road, and checked that everyone and everything was all right. Happily, the only thing injured was the window. I was told “Oh, that truck that passed most likely threw up a rock from the road and it hit the window. Happens all the time”, which did not make me feel better.

Tom (@guest_132794)
2 years ago

Back in 73 headed home to Allentown PA from college and a semi left trailer tire came apart and it hit the right front quarter panel on my 69 Camaro. The quarter panel cut into my right front tire in my car. I was able to safely get onto the shoulder of the highway. Had to bend the panel out of the way to get tire changed. I think of this when of coming up on the side of semi now.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom
Bill (@guest_132758)
2 years ago

Hit by road debris? Yup. A 2×2 piece of plywood lying on the pavement. The pickup truck ahead of me swerved suddenly to miss it, which was the first I saw of it. He didn’t actually hit it, but he was so close to it that his slipstream picked it up and launched it back at us. No time or space to react, especially with the trailer hitched up. It hit our grill edgewise, slid up the hood, punched a corner through the passenger-side windshield before sliding back across the A-pillar, where it sheared off the outside rear-view mirror, then rotated back along the side of the truck and hit the front of our trailer, before finally bouncing off into the ditch. My wife, in the passenger seat, was less than pleased, as you can imagine. I was too busy wondering where my pile of fresh underwear was located.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bill
Suru (@guest_132757)
2 years ago

When I was 8 months pregnant and a passenger in our car a tire crashed through the windshield while on the freeway. It missed me by a fraction of an inch. I had to be cut out of the car. By the grace of God I wasn’t seriously hurt and the baby (my son) was fine. Someone on the other side of the freeway lost a tire and in jumped over the center divider. My husband saw it coming and swerved and saved our lives.

Gary (@guest_132749)
2 years ago


Last edited 2 years ago by Gary
Larry Williams (@guest_132732)
2 years ago

Motorcycling through TN, we came up on a flatbed semi hauling pipe. Managed to get driver on CB and let him know 2 of 3 straps on pipe bundle were gone. Load was starting to fan out and we promptly flew out and away from his rear.
Also, mattresses are rather difficult to tie down properly on a car roof. Don’t ask how I know. All turned out well, just embarassing.
Was able to dodge a pothole on the BQE in NYC which was fully open to the road below.
Followed a car on the NJ Turnpike which had 1 rear axle broken loose and extended 3 ft out until it must have finally kinked solid within the housing. Needless to say, didn’t stay behind him either.
Very thankful we can report these and other incidents without an attendat accident report.

Larry (@guest_132705)
2 years ago

Two instances but not me. On the Long Island Expressway a Hollywood producer or director was killed several years ago when a pipe flew up from the road, through the windshield and killed him. And a friend of mine was on the 401 in CA when a car or truck went over a 4×8 foot sheet of plywood which flew up hit her front end and then slid up and covered her windshield. She braked and it slid back down off. She was okay but her car suffered serious damage. This is a serious matter of items not being secured properly and Russ shouldn’t be making light of the matter

Last edited 2 years ago by RV Staff
Tom (@guest_132688)
2 years ago

Last trip, hit an unavoidable tire chunk. It took out my macerator and assorted hoses. The one piece destroyed is Thetford #70535 , no longer available. Thanks, Thetford.

Dan (@guest_132687)
2 years ago

Almost, but got lucky. I was riding my motorcycle on the interstate in an urban area behind a fairly large flat bed truck when I saw several objects bouncing around loose on the truck bed. It was heavy traffic but I managed to change lanes and try to get the rolling disaster behind me. As I got near the back of the truck, a huge circular saw blade bounced off, followed by a 2×4 at least 10 feet long. Got next to the driver and tried to get his attention honking and waving but he just looked at me and kept going. I got him as far behind me as I could. I did see the traffic behind him parting ways.

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