Potholes: A Danger For All

April showers bring May flowers’ and potholes. Throughout Montgomery County, potholes notoriously plagued roadways during last winter’s storms, and with the arrival of spring, they have become a serious hazard in the area.

Difficult to view by even the most experienced drivers, potholes have become a subject of confusion and anger due to their spontaneity. Potholes of all sizes have created issues ranging from flat tires to full-on collisions that block traffic.

Sophomore Morgana Finney said, “I took a driver’s ed class and they didn’t really mention potholes. I wouldn’t know what I would do if I got into one.”

Potholes form when cracks in pavement let water into the roadbed soil. Over time, the soil gets pushed down more and more by car tires. When this soggy roadbed soil gets eroded, a pothole forms beneath the cracks and the cracking pavement concaves, explaining why rainy weather leads to so many accidents due to potholes.

Potholes are frequently formed during the winter because when water enters cracks in the ground and the temperature is below freezing, the water expands when it freezes, creating damaging cracks and warping of the pavement.

During the spring, high amounts of runoff seep into all the cracks made during the winter and they create a new series of potholes. The county traditionally takes advantage of the summertime to repair the potholes through various maintenance projects.

Principal Billie-Jean Bensen, who had a flat tire because of a pothole on Veirs Mill Road, said, “Just be aware … take notice of what a car is doing in front of you: if a car breaks or swerves, slow down. Be aware if a pothole is ahead.”

The county is taking action against the potholes by creating a hotline for pothole repair and creating an online service that drivers can report potholes through. People can report potholes by calling 301-513-7300 and reporting them online on the county website.

There are many things drivers can do to avoid potholes. They can leave space between cars in front of them so that they may react to potholes in time, and be wary of pockets of the road that contain water, so that they do not mistake potholes for puddles and simply slow down.