Drive anywhere in Kansas City right now and you are going to see potholes. Public Works managers for the city estimate that there are at least 2,100 potholes throughout Kansas City streets, with more forming soon.
Potholes are formed when water seeps down into the asphalt and the earth underneath, weakening it in the process. The problem is exacerbated when the underground water freezes in the cold. Frozen water expands, so the water bulges the asphalt above it, widening the pothole and forming new cracks. The worst storms of the year might not be done yet, so that means new potholes are surely going to form in Kansas City soon.
Safe Driving Around Potholes & Repair Crews
Driving around Kansas City with that many potholes is, put simply, a hazard. Hitting a pothole at a moderate speed can cause a tire to rupture, wresting control of the vehicle from the driver. Or, the pothole may cause the car to bounce violently and into another lane. Kansas City has to scramble to get the situation under control before pothole accidents become the new norm.
In the meantime, though, here are a few hints you can remember to stay safe when driving around potholes:
- Follow the three-second rule: The best way to stay out of a pothole accident is to follow the three-second rule, which means leaving at least a three-second gap between your car and the car in front of you. This gap will give you ample time to see potholes on the road ahead and decide how to react safely. You might even be able to slightly realign your vehicle in your lane to drive safely over the pothole with no incident.
- Be wary of puddles: Where there is a pothole, there will be puddles when it rains. If you see a big puddle ahead in the road, beware that it might actually be a water-filled pothole.
- Slow down before hitting: When you cannot safely avoid a pothole, your best option is slowing down as much as you can. At low speeds, you may be able to hit a pothole directly without any damage to your vehicle, and without any loss of vehicle control.
- Pay attention to warning signs: Maintenance crews tasked with repairing potholes should put up signage warning that they are working in the immediate area. You might see orange construction signs, or blinking lights on the back of their truck. When you see a work crew, or signs that they are near, slow down. Speed limits in work zones are usually set to just 25 miles per hour.
- Maintain lane control: Hitting a pothole is bad for your vehicle, but it is not as bad as swerving into adjacent lanes wildly to try to avoid a pothole. Do your best to stay in your lane, even if that means your car takes a thump.
What to Do After You Hit a Pothole in Kansas City
Residents of Kansas City can dial 311 to report a pothole to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). This department is tasked with collecting all pothole reports and prioritizing pothole fixes throughout the city. You can call 1-888-ASK-MODOT, report the pothole, and ask if they would like a picture of the pothole sent to them, which helps them decide if it should be a top priority fix.
If you are hurt in a pothole accident, or your vehicle is significantly damaged, then you may need to file a claim against MoDOT or the City of Kansas City for failing to provide safe roadways. Our legal team of pothole accident lawyers in Kansas and Missouri can help. We bring more than 100 years of collective legal experience to each personal injury claim we handle, and we are not afraid to take on tough oppositions like government departments and agencies. When your recovery is on the line, we hesitate for nothing!
Call (888) 743-1030 to arrange a FREE consultation with our team today if you have been injured in Missouri or Kansas.