Q I was entering Interstate 680 from Scott Creek Road recently behind a large dump truck. The truck was dropping debris, and one piece hit and broke my windshield. I was furious and wanted to do something about it.

Rick Gaudinier

A I understand being furious, especially when it cost $1,000 to replace the windshield. What did you do?

Q I had nothing to write with, so I called my sister and gave all the information I could gather from the truck. While I was following the truck, it kept on dropping more debris. How can we keep trucks from repeating this? What can I do to get my deductible back from this company?

Rick Gaudinier

Pleasanton

Trucks with uncovered loads of debris, Interstate 80.
Trucks with uncovered loads of debris, Interstate 80. (Bay Area News Group archives)

A I would call the truck company and report this. I have heard of some drivers who get reimbursed this way, though the odds are against you.

The CHP recommends calling 911 to report damage, especially if there is an ongoing danger of more debris spilling.

Steve-the-CHP man says:

"Without that notification to the CHP, the offending vehicle will never get properly identified, and more importantly will not be stopped from causing additional damage to other vehicles. Calling one's family, friend or co-worker may only help resolve the issue of documenting information after the damage has occurred, but does nothing to address the ongoing safety issue.

"Additionally, by not notifying the CHP, and getting a positive identification of the offending vehicle by an officer, it may be very difficult to connect the damage to your vehicle with the suspected vehicle. The possibility of connecting a cracked windshield from debris is very remote lacking any independent witnesses or physical evidence.

"In this case, if the CHP was able to stop the vehicle shortly after the initial incident, the officer could have witnessed the continuing trail of debris falling from the vehicle. That would make connecting the damage to your vehicle or another much more probable."

Q About that ammonia-like smell drivers on Highway 101 near Trimble Road have detected, I smell the same thing and believe it is coming from the Owens Corning factory, where they make fiberglass insulation. I smell it every day when I drive past the train trestle and I've seen smoke plumes coming from the Owens smokestacks on Central Expressway drifting directly over that exact area of the freeway. ... That smell is not jet fuel but sewage. ... I hike the Lower Guadalupe Trail every weekend. In the vicinity of the foul smell reports you have received I also encounter a horrible smell and can tell you exactly where the smell that makes me hold my breath is -- it appears to come from a sewer vent on top on the east shoulder of Lower Guadalupe Trail, only a foot or two from the paved trail between 101 and Trimble.

Paul Bauer, Pete Bohley, Dave Noran and more

A According to its website, the Corning plant has released as much as 100,000 pounds of ammonia annually into the air, but reduced that figure to 16,280 pounds in 2011. Airport officials say vapor from aviation fuel could also contribute to the smell.

Q Is a license plate light required by law?

Judy Kin

San Jose

A Yes, a license plate light is required (California Vehicle Code 24600).

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.