…cogitations on calamities, cataclysms and catastrophes, preventing, preparing and pulling through.

We have reached the blahs of winter/spring (Sprinter). Also known as POTHOLE SEASON! That blessed time of year during which our roads turn to crater marked trails of destruction. Potholes form when water under pavement freezes and expands. When that frozen mess defrosts, it leaves the holes and chunks of road surface material I am sure you have seen. Indeed, many of you have likely experienced the horror of seeing
the hole in the road too late and driving right into it pell mell! (The sound of tire and wheel hitting those holes haunts my nightmares). Possibly you have had a chunk of the rock formerly know as asphalt fly up and hit the under side of your car when you couldn’t avoid it. If you have ever had the misfortune to have a tire explode or catastrophic damage to the underside of your car, this post is for you.

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Empty road, no traffic, no pedestrians? Go around that crater.

Can’t dodge it? SLOW DOWN! If you’re going the speed limit, you generally will have enough time to spot the pit where the road used to be and either carefully and slowly creep through it or wait for the appropriate moment to change lanes and drive around it. Please don’t make a sudden slow down or stop when there are cars behind you, keep one eye on the pothole/pit and one eye on your rear view mirror. This only applies when the hole is shallow enough and small enough to drive through. Hopefully if you come across a VERY deep one, it will be covered with the ubiquitous steel plates that are the flowers of Sprinter.

Drive over steel plates with care, avoid the corners and sharp looking edges when possible.

Save your car and take public transit when and where available.

Report the pits, holes, craters and debris to the municipal authorities as soon as you experience…er…SEE them. It is a losing battle for the fearless men and women who repair our roads during Sprinter, but still they keep up the fight when they know where to go.

If you are one of the misfortunate who have lost a tire or just gotten a good hard whack to a wheel, please be kind to your car. Replace that tire and have a reputable shop check your suspension and alignment.

The unexpected expense of a single car accident, you vs. the road surface, can be devastating. Check with your auto insurance provider and find out if you are covered in such a situation, also find out if it is worth filing a claim. Sometimes the cost of insurance deductibles and the surcharge in premium you will have in the future are much higher than just paying repair costs out of your pocket.

Do your research: check with more than one repair shop on the cost of your repairs and always ask if they have any coupons or discounts available. Often national chains as well as local family owned auto repair shops have specials.

Check and see if you can file a claim with your municipality, it’s worth a try since it lets your city government know just how big a mess a damaged road caused you and may get you a little help paying your repair bills.

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How do I come up with this stuff? Experience. My car was eaten by a nearly invisible and unavoidable pit in the road last year while traveling at 5mph under the speed limit at night. A hefty bill for new tires, new front suspension and new engine mounts were the outcome of that awful moment on the road.

Dear friends, I hope and pray this never happens to any of you! Stay safe out there and keep calling those craters in to your municipalities!

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P.S. What a surprise, the day I was thinking about potholes causing personal disasters…this happened to a friend’s car. It’s not supposed to look like that. That is what you call a catastrophic failure caused by, you guessed it: a wheel eating pothole on the way to pick the children up from school.
#DisasterServicesCCKCSJ #AvoidThosePotholes #AvoidPersonalDisaster #SprinterHasSprung

By Shayna Deitchman, Americorps Disaster Relief Services

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