Maintaining the nation’s highways, roads and bridges requires a large investment. According to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission of the U.S. Congress, it will take an estimated $185 billion per year for the next 50 years to simply maintain the current infrastructure. One major frustration every driver faces is a pothole.
Potholes do not just annoy drivers; they can also pose serious risks and lead to traffic accidents for drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Cars swerve to avoid potholes
Potholes can catch drivers off guard, and drivers often instinctively swerve to avoid them. However, abrupt swerving may result in rear-end collisions or sideswipe accidents. These accidents can cause property damage, injuries and even fatalities. It is important for drivers to exercise caution and carefully assess the situation before making sudden maneuvers to avoid potholes.
Government liability for defective roadways
In some cases, the government may be liable for accidents caused by defective and dangerous road conditions, including potholes. If a pothole remains unrepaired for an unreasonable amount of time or if the government is aware of the hazard but fails to take appropriate action, it is possible to hold it accountable for accidents and injuries resulting from the pothole.
However, proving government liability can be complex, and specific laws and procedures vary by jurisdiction.
Risks faced by bicyclists and motorcyclists
Bicyclists and motorcyclists have less protection and stability compared to drivers of cars and trucks. If drivers swerve to avoid potholes and hit a bicyclist or motorcyclist, it can cause severe injuries or even fatalities. The impact of a pothole on a bicycle or motorcycle can lead to loss of control and result in dangerous crashes.
To cut the risks associated with potholes, drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists must remain vigilant on the road. Paying attention to the surroundings, reducing speed when approaching areas prone to potholes and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles can help prevent accidents.