Every time a truck runs into trouble and empties its cargo onto the highway, it makes the news. But some of those spills are stranger than others, and some make a serious mess.

While these odd highway spills are sometimes funny (and sometimes gross), if you run into one while driving and it causes an accident, you might not be laughing. At least not until later, when your car is repaired, and you’re telling the tale at happy hour.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the weirdest truckloads to land on the road. Then, we’ll tell you what to expect if your car runs into one.

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Written by:
Leslie Kasperowicz
Managing Editor
Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.
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Reviewed by:
Laura Longero
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Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Wild food spills on the highway

Hungry? These highway food spills might help curb your appetite. 

  1. Alfredo sauce: According to witnesses, this spill smelled pretty good until it baked in the hot sun for a while. In August of 2022, a truck containing jars of alfredo sauce crashed into a median and sent the white, creamy pasta sauce all over a Memphis highway.
  2. Potatoes: In 2022, a truck crashed and spilled potatoes everywhere, which doesn’t sound so bad until you realize it happened in January and in Minnesota. The potatoes froze on the road, creating a traffic disaster that required special equipment to clean up.
  3. Chocolate: A 2018 spill in Poland left 12 tons of milk chocolate across both lanes of traffic when the tanker overturned. The chocolate hardened across the road, creating a sweet but difficult cleanup.
  4. Tomatoes: This crash sent thousands of tomatoes into the road near Vacaville, California, a mess that took hours to clean up and created a pile-up when cars became stuck in the tomatoes.

Beverages spilled by the gallon

If you need something to wash down the list above, we’ve got you covered.

  1. Beer: Beer is actually a surprisingly common highway spill, but here are a few memorable events. This Florida crash in September of 2022 involved four semi trucks and left hundreds of cases of Coors Light on the road. Not a Coors fan? In March 2019, a truck in California rolled down an embankment off of Interstate 10, and sent cases of Modelo Especial rolling across the road
  2. Wine: If you’re more of a wine person, we’ve got sad stories for you, too. This 2021 spill in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sent a thousand bottles of wine into the road. And back in 2019, a two-truck crash in Chicago involving 40,000 pounds of wine resulted in hours of glass and wine cleanup.
  3. Hot chocolate: Above we saw milk chocolate hit the road in Poland. In 2019, it was a beloved chocolate beverage. A tanker in Arizona sent 3,500 gallons of hot chocolate onto the highway near Flagstaff.
  4. Red Bull: Here’s a spill to give you wings: In 2014, a truck in Florida carrying 30,000 pounds of Red Bull energy drink crashed and sent its cargo onto the road. No one was spotted flying away from the scene.

Other unbelievable highway spills

Not everything that spills on the highway is edible. Here’s a selection of other strange cargo to hit the road.

  1. Money: That’s right, cold, hard cash. An armored truck crashed on a California highway in 2019 and lost its cargo. Motorists gleefully gathered the cash in bundles, and some made a break for it with their find. Unfortunately, the California Highway Patrol had to remind everyone that this was not a finders-keepers situation and ask them to return it.
  2. Bees: A crash in Utah in July of 2022 sent more than 10 million bees literally flying; a witness described a “wall of bees” after the crash. And they weren’t happy bees, either; the attempt to gather them was largely abandoned, and we don’t blame anyone for that.
  3. Live eels: We’re ranking this 2017 Oregon crash as the creepiest. 7,500 pounds of live slime eels (also known as hagfish) emptied from a truck and over the road and nearby cars. The slimy mess required bulldozers and fire hoses to clean up.
  4. Manure: Easily the most disgusting highway spill we came across: in this 2022 crash, a truck in Wisconsin dumped a huge load of manure onto the road. We have to shout out to the highway workers who had to shovel up the mess.

What happens if you’re involved in an accident with a spill on the highway?

Unfortunately, some of these spills weren’t one-vehicle incidents. Motorists traveling at high speed when a truck crashes and covers the road in any sort of cargo are often unable to avoid an accident. So, what happens if you lose control in an alfredo sauce slick or run into a pile of manure?

The good news is that car insurance will cover the damage when a spill on the highway causes you to crash. In most cases, the truck driver or the trucking company’s insurance will be held liable. However, it’s always a good idea to get your own insurance company involved.

The claim is likely to be complex, and if you have collision coverage, your best move might be to get your car repaired that way and let the insurance company collect from the trucking company’s insurer.

Resources & Methodology

Sources

  1. The New York Times. “An overturned truck in Memphis covered the highway with Alfredo Sauce.” Accessed February 2023.
  2. United Press International. “Spilled potatoes freeze to Minnesota highway after a truck crash.” Accessed February 2023.
  3. USA Today. “Chocolate spill covers highway in Poland as truck overturns.” Accessed February 2023.
  4. National Public Radio. “A tomato spill makes a major California highway a marinara mess.” Accessed February 2023.
  5. Orlando Weekly. “Florida highway shuts down after trucks spill a massive load of Coors Lights.” Accessed February 2023
  6. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Hundreds of cans of Modelo Especial beer spill onto California highway in a truck crash.” Accessed February 2023.
  7. WXII 12. “Winston-Salem: Truck spills wine onto the highway during a crash.” Accessed February 2023.
  8. United Press International. “Truck crash spills hundreds of bottles of wine onto Chicago highway.” Accessed February 2023.
  9. USA Today. “Truck spills 3,500 gallons of liquid chocolate onto Arizona highway.” Accessed February 2023.
  10. The Florida Times-Union. “Thousands of gallons of Red Bull spills onto I-95 in a truck crash in central Florida.” Accessed February 2023.
  11. NCB News. “Armored truck spills money on California freeway, sparking cash-grab frenzy.” Accessed February 2023.
  12. CNN News. “More than 10 million bees released when semi-truck crashes on Utah highway.” Accessed February 2023.
  13. CBS News. “7,500 pounds of live eels spill onto Oregon highway, coat cars in slime.” Accessed February 2023.
  14. 830 WCCO News.”Huge manure spill shuts down Wisconsin highway.” Accessed February 2023.
Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

Ask the Insurance Expert

Leslie Kasperowicz

Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.