As the weather warms up, the toll of a Missouri winter on the roads in St. Joseph becomes clear: There will likely be nearly a million potholes for the Missouri Department of Transportation to fill, this year.
These are not just inconveniences for drivers – potholes pose a significant risk for car accidents.
Missouri DOT Plans to Fill Nearly a Million Potholes
Now that the weather is beginning to heat up, the Missouri DOT is ramping up its road repair efforts to fix damage that was done over the winter.
According to the DOT, 2019 saw the agency spend $17 million to patch 730,000 potholes across the state. 400,000 of those potholes were fixed in the first two months of the year. The total was up from 619,000 in 2018, and will likely increase again, this year as roads and highways continue to depreciate.
Around 300 pothole crews will be on the roads across Missouri, as the agency gets a head start from now through April. They will be using a hot asphalt mix that requires warm temperatures, but that lasts far longer than the patches the crews can make with cold asphalt.
Potholes Cause Car Crashes
Every pothole poses a threat to drivers. They can damage your vehicle and cause a crash, or other drivers can swerve to avoid one and sideswipe you if you are next to them.
When you hit a pothole and the jolt makes you lose control of your vehicle and cause a crash, the road conditions should be the ultimate cause of the crash. However, people who swerve to avoid a pothole and hit someone else will still be held liable for the results. Even though they were trying to avoid the pothole, their decision puts other people at an even greater risk.
Driving Techniques for Pothole Season
In an attempt to prevent or reduce the number of car accidents, the Missouri DOT released four techniques for drivers who are about to hit potholes and who are in traffic that is heavy enough to make it unsafe to avoid them:
- Brake before the pothole, rather than directly on top of it: Hitting a pothole with the brakes engaged can cause even more damage to your car
- Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel
- Be careful when driving through a puddle; it might be hiding a pothole
- Keep your tires properly inflated
Reporting Potholes on Your Roadways
You can also help the Missouri DOT and other local agencies fix the roadways by reporting major potholes in your area.
If the pothole is on a road maintained by the state, you can use the Report a Road Concern form online, or call the 24/7 hotline at 1-888-275-6636.
Car Accident Lawyers in St. Joseph at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury and car accident lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph legally represent victims of car crashes, including those caused by potholes. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373 if you have been hurt.