Pot Hole Proliferation

The hard winter that many parts of the country are experiencing has taken a devastating toll on the roadways in the form of potholes.  In the past, they were seasonal nuisances that arose sporadically as the result of the freeze/thaw cycle. This year, however, they have taken on Black-Hole proportions and have multiplied far beyond the numbers we have been accustomed to in recent history.

The damage potholes create can be extremely costly.  With today’s newer cars having lower profile tires, a pothole can crack a rim and blow out the tire.  This can be a $1000 adventure when you add up all the costs (and we are only addressing issues to an automobile here, and not to an unwary pedestrian).

Here are some battle-proven suggestions if you live in an area that is plagued with this problem:

- Give Notice.   Most roads are maintained by municipalities.  If possible, send a written notice to the State/City/Town/Village/Homeowner Association and give them the location of the pothole.  Be sure to send it with a traceable (i.e. Certified/Return Receipt) or on-line tracking.  You will be doing others a favor if they are impacted by a pothole that was noticed.

- Don’t Over-React On The Road.  Sudden swerves to avoid these craters can result in accidents.

- Avoid Panic Braking.   By suddenly slowing, you transfer the weight of your car to the front tires making any impact even worse (to say nothing about the driver behind you having to deal with your abrupt stop).

- Puddles Are Not Your Friend.  Water will mask the depth of a pot-hole so on rainy days be especially cautious.

- Aftermath.  If your wheel/tire are victims of a pothole, don’t make things worse by putting yourself in greater danger by stopping your car in a high-traffic area.  Continue to drive slowly (run-flat tires allow for this and a cracked rim is probably finished anyway) with hazard signals on until you find a safe place to pull over and call for assistance.

- Claim It.   As we mentioned in our first tip, the pothole that got you may have been noticed already and you may have recourse to recover damages.

Unfortunately, warmer weather will not make the craters disappear on their own.  However, road crews will have a better chance of getting to the repairs when not encumbered by snow and ice.  Here’s hoping!

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