Beware of Potholes

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WORLD POTHOLE DAY

Beware!

 

TODAY (25th. March 2015) IS WORLD POTHOLE DAY
The purpose of World Pothole Day is to highlight the risks to safety caused by potholes. The following Source provides photos of damaged roads and streets.
Source:http://www.mynewsdesk.com/streetrepairs/pressreleases/world-pothole-day.

Bump!
It can happen to any of us at any time.

You’re driving along, bobbing your head to the music, when
suddenly you hit a pothole and it feels like your suspension is coming apart. 

Once a pothole forms, it can grow to several feet, with rain water accelerating the process and creating a trap for vehicles, making one of the top causes of car accidents.

Potholes present a great risk to drivers and pedestrians because they are often deep holes that cars and pedestrians must cross over.

In addition, cars no longer use frames but are all one body.  The
alignment moves in and out as the vehicle goes hits potholes.

Potholes are created when the roadway is stressed by trucks and buses, that cause a movement of the subsurface. Once there is a weak spot, every car that travels over it makes the problem worse, and eventually a section of the material will fail, causing a pothole.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Potholes-and-the-Accidents-They-Cause&id=3786334

WHAT TO DO AFTER HITTING A POTHOLE

Have you ever been driving down a road, listening to your favorite music when your car suddenly hits a pothole? If the pothole was shallow, you feel as if you have just taken a tumble in your car. If you’re unlucky and the pothole was deep and wide, your car might sustain heavy damage to its suspension and you might even be involved in a car accident.

Driving into a pothole puts enormous strain on your tires, wheels, and suspension.

The shape and depth of the pothole and the speed you travel all play into the severity of potential damage, but there are other considerations as well.

A lot of cars now come with performance tires and short side walls that provide responsive cornering but have less area to flex and conform to a pothole edge compared to a taller conventional tire. As a result, performance tires are also more prone to sidewall cutting and blistering.

Any direct hit in a pothole could bring about near instant air loss and will require immediate replacement. Any tire that survives a pothole and has sidewall damage should also be replaced in short order. 

Wheels also take a beating; drive into a really deep pothole and you  may be replacing the tire and the wheel.

Potholes can cause expensive damage to your car and cause you to
make an unexpected appointment with the auto mechanic.

While a bumpy road may be a minor nuisance to drivers, a road littered with potholes can cause serious damage to your car and even result in a car accident.

* Slow down and pay attention to the road conditions.

* Don’t be fooled into thinking that some potholes are small. If they are filled with water they can be more than you bargained for.

* Keep some distance between you and car you are following—that will give you time to react should there be a pothole hazard up ahead.
Avoiding potholes is the best bet, but if the impact is inevitable, try to at least partly slow down before entering, and drive straight into it.Turning into a pothole exposes more tire sidewall to potential damage. 

* Be diligent after a pothole encounter. Any shake or shimmy in your car’s ride can mean something was damaged. Stop the car, check for visible signs of tire and wheel damage.

* Keep in mind that if the front tire ran over the hole, the rear tire probably did as well—check both. Also, if no damage is visible, it could mean the car set a balance weight off a wheel or possibly suffered suspension damage.  Have everything checked by your mechanic. 

* Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended inflation pressure is one of the best guards for minimizing pothole damage to your tires and wheels. under or over inflated tires can affect a tires’ or wheel’s resistance to pothole damage. Most cars now have a tire pressure monitoring system to alert the driver if a tire is losing air pressure. If your car does not have a tire pressure monitoring system, check the tire pressure when the tire has cooled to ambient temperature to be sure it’s not losing air from the pothole encounter. 

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/jan/28/how-to-deal-with-potholes

ACCIDENTS

Potholes Don’t Just Cause Car Accidents, They can also cause fatal motorcycle accidents too

Sometimes, when a pothole is so severe, or your car is not equipped to handle the blow, it will cause you to lose control of your car. This leads to car accidents that, many times, have caused wrongful deaths.

Motorcycle drivers are at special risk of injury if they ride over a pothole. Having just two wheels on the ground and a lower weight than cars, motorcycles are ill-equipped to handle
potholes. Source: https://seriousaccidents.com/legal-advice/top-causes-of-car-accidents/potholes/

POTHOLES

Potholes are defects in the asphalt surface of a road or pavement.

Potholes come in all shapes and sizes and are primarily caused by  wear-and-tear and weathering. They seem to pop up like magic almost overnight.

The most common way a pothole is created is by water seeping into cracks in the asphalt surface of a road; when combined with the vibration of tires over the cracks, the asphalt  surface fails.

Over time, ice can also make a pothole bigger and deeper as the pavement expands with temperature change. The pothole absorbs water, and when it becomes cold enough the water freezes, making the cracks in the pavement larger. When warmer temperatures arrive, the ice thaws, leaving the pothole bigger and deeper.

When water seeps into the asphalt and the water freezes it expands. Something has to give, and it’s usually the pavement surface. That is why there are more potholes after it rains.

Nevertheless, even Los Angeles, where there is little snow or freezing, has seen a rise in potholes and resultant damage caused by a combination of near record-setting rain, the state’s budget problems, and heavy use of roads. 

Potholes are dangerous because they can  cause a  road to become uneven and unwieldy to drive on. It is also easy to miss a pothole in the dark when potholes are less visible.

It is also hard to avoid a pothole during inclement weather. If there is snow, potholes are filled causing them to be hidden from view. Drivers often drive over these potholes at high speeds and are completely taken aback by the initial shock.

Even a shallow pothole can cause damage to your tires and suspension and cause an accident if your car is stalled in a pothole.

Potholes are especially responsible for accidents involving cyclists and motorcyclist. Cases involving motorcycle accidents caused by potholes or road debris can be among the most complex in personal injury law. Unlike most cases involving collisions with other motor vehicles it can be extremely difficult to determine liability when accidents are caused by poorly maintained roads. Source: http://www.ocinjury.com/blog/2014/06/17/motorcycle-accidents-caused-by-potholes-145300

Los Angeles has a dangerous pothole and surface crack problem that’s costing drivers thousands of dollars every year.
“The bicycling community refers to these (cracks) as valleys of death,”

Source: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Pothole-Los-Angeles-Street-Cracks-Repair-291116921.html

PAVING MATERIALS

The two main paving materials are concrete and asphalt.

Concrete is stronger and more durable, but building roads out of it is complex, expensive, and slow. Concrete roads also tend to be noisy, and slick when wet and when they eventually fail, they’re a pain to repair.

Asphalt, by comparison, is cheaper, faster, and patching is easier and quicker to install. Asphalt paving can be spread and rolled in the morning and driven on in the afternoon, minimizing complaints by impatient motorists.

Asphalt (also known as bitumen outside the USA)  is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum.

The primary use (70%) of asphalt/bitumen is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles. 

Asphalt and bitumen are often used interchangeably to mean both natural and manufactured forms of the substance.

Common usage often refers to various forms of asphalt/bitumen as “tar”, Another term for asphalt/bitumen is “pitch.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphalt

Asphalt is more prone to potholes than concrete and most potholes appear to be due to asphalt drying out, or breaking down due to water or ice.

The problem with asphalt is that as soon as an asphalt surface is installed, numerous factors are working against it. Over time, water, the sun’s UV rays, oxidation, oil, fuel,  petroleum products and traffic will destroy asphalt surfaces.

Asphalt’s inherent characteristics lead to the conclusion that there will always be potholes as long as asphalt is used to pave roads and highways.

Long-lasting roads using asphalt can be made using a combination of asphalt and concrete. But there’s no simple way to do this. The original surface has to be ripped out and redone from scratch. Source:http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2974/why-cant-they-make-highways-last-forever

If  left untreated, cracks in asphalt road surfaces, will ultimately expand and cause irreversible damage resulting in potholes. If these damaged areas are isolated, cutting out and patching the area is a viable option.

When cracks, gaps and joints are left unfilled, an ideal condition exists to harbor the growth of various vegetation, weeds and grass. The dirt, debris, and soil in the cracks provide an ideal environment for vegetation growth in the cracks of the pavement surface. Source: http://greenanswers.com/question/how-long-do-asphalt-roads-last/

Source: http://www.ftpersonalinjurylawyers.com/blog/car-accident-statistics

Unfortunately car accident attorneys are hearing more and more about accidents caused by potholes on roads that are worn down and need repair . But cyclists and motorcyclist are also affected.

Source:http://www.ocinjury.com/blog/2014/06/17/motorcycle-accidents-caused-by-potholes-145300

As potholes become more of a havoc on the roads, tire insurance popularity suddenly soars. Cars often get flat tires, lose their hub caps and cause accidents.

Pothole accidents in Florida roads in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county are caused by wear and tear and weathering of the streets.

When this happens, rain can accelerate the process and increase the size of the pothole.

Potholes can cause car and truck accidents, but even more serious are pothole motorcycle accidents because motorcycles have less weight and sit on two wheels on the ground.

Cases involving motorcycle accidents caused by potholes or road debris can be  among the most complex in personal injury law. Source:http://www.answers.com/Q/How_many_accidents_are_caused_by_potholes_every_year

LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY

Unlike most cases involving collisions with other motor vehicles, it can be extremely difficult to determine liability when accidents are caused by poorly maintained road. 

Although local municipal agencies are responsible for maintaining roadways and ensuring that they are safe to use, drivers could be involved in dangerous accidents, resulting in serious injury to themselves or others. Nevertheless it is very hard to prove municipal liability.

Fault will hinge on negligence who was intentionally negligent; car accidents caused by potholes or road debris can present unique issues of liability, and strict rules of compliance when claims against the government are involved.

With five major cities in the top seven, California residents will need to know about the dangers of potholes.  San Diego ca. is one of the worst offenders when it comes to potholes,  which might be a factor in many of our city’s serious car accident Source:http://detroit.legalexaminer.com/automobileaccidents/michigand-defective-roads-and-potholes/

Some Helpful Hints For Reporting Potholes To State Highway Authority

•Give the exact location of the pothole.
•Be prepared to describe it (length, width, depth).
•Try to remember if you saw or heard rain water in the hole.
•Ask if the hole is on a bus route or highway,
Source: https://seriousaccidents.com/legal-advice/top-causes-of-car-accidents/potholes/

TECHNOLOGY

Recently, a high school robotics team in Agawam, Mass. (some residents call it the birthplace of the pothole) was trying to come up with an idea to submit for a grant to the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, which encourages students to solve a problem through invention.

The robotics team then designed a machine that uses ground-penetrating radar to locate potential potholes and then fill them with an epoxy. The school now has a provisional patent on the device

Boston has also found another  innovative way to find and fix street potholes: a free smart phone app, called the ‘Street Bump’ Unfortunately, the original version of Street Bump couldn’t distinguish between potholes, manhole covers, bridge surfaces, and various other road lumps. As a result, it was giving a lot of false positives.

Boston has now developed a new app (a project of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics)  to help residents improve their neighborhood streets. As users drive, the mobile app collects data about the smoothness of the ride; that data provides the City with real-time information it uses to fix problems and plan long-term investments Source: http://www.cityofboston.gov/DoIT/apps/streetbump.asp

TO REPORT A POTHOLE

You can either report a pothole to your local council or municipality or we will report it for you for FREE.

We will, of course, need some information from you about the pothole, including a photograph, its exact location (street/ cross-road/ highway), its approximate length, width, and depth,  its location on the street or highway, (such as left side, right side or center), your council or municipality (zip code if in the USA), and any other helpful information (such as on a bus route).

You should send your email to mel@bettercitiesforum.com and we will report the offending pothole to be filled or patched.

Thank you,

Mel Marcus.

 

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