Pothole season is always a huge problem in Michigan
By Destiny Duprey, ‘23
They’re back. The countless orange cones on Michigan roads. Some of the roads are being fixed, or completely redone, in cities all around Metro Detroit. Some of the major reasons for this annual headache are potholes.
Governor Whitmer stated, in March, 2022, that she wanted to “speed up pothole repair.” Most Michiganders have known and driven on potholes their whole life in Michigan. You cannot escape them! Every road you turn on, every corner you pass, potholes will be there. Again, they can cause accidents and damage to you, the road, and your car.
Why potholes? What’s so special about potholes and why are there so many? You may think that these holes in the road that make your car go bumping are “no big deal,” but potholes are very, very dangerous and can be terribly expensive!
What creates potholes? When there are cracks in the surface of the pavement from rain or any water softening it up, it weakens or breaks the concrete. Gaps are formed by the weakened concrete’s cracks and holes. When traffic is constantly driving over the weakened concrete, it pushes the pavement down and the gaps create air pockets between the pavement and the base. Eventually, the concrete can’t handle the pressure and the cement collapses. The scary part is that the constant pressure and shifting of the base underneath the surface can make potholes get super deep. It’s difficult to know how far down the hole has been created.
Many others argue that decades ago, in the 70’s and 80’s, cheap asphalt and concrete was used to make repairs. This created more of a “band-aid” instead of a solution. Also, Michigan has a heavy amount of very heavy semi-truck traffic, due to our location and numerous industries.
Flat tires are the most common problems, but other damage can happen to your car when hitting a pothole. Cracked rims, loss of steering, braking control, and bent wheels are other common and expensive problems from potholes. The cost of this heavy damage like this is very expensive, so most people try to drive around and avoid potholes. They say the price for fixing damage from potholes range from $600 to $3,000. In the Detroit Free Press, it was stated that if you have damage without repair, it can lead to a worse tire blowout.
What’s the best way to avoid potholes? Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to go slow; it’s never good to speed over a pothole. Constantly check your tires. Also, do your research and check your insurance before you make a repair decision. It’s never good to try to get something fixed while not knowing exactly what’s going on first.