Now that it’s warming up we’re spending more time outdoors and more people are on their motorcycles and bicycles. They’re finding that, along with the blooming flowers, the potholes are blooming too. These are more than an inconvenience. If they are large enough and your vehicle hits them hard enough, your car can be damaged and you could lose control. Bicyclists and motorcyclists are in even greater danger from potholes.
Potholes are caused when water gets below the pavement and repeated freezing and thawing cracks the pavement. As spring rains come, more water washes out the pavement, and traffic running over the spot causes it to break up even more. Potholes can be especially prevalent in areas of poor drainage. You may not appreciate how deep a pothole is if it’s filled with water or you don’t see it well enough before you hit it.
Potholes are a perennial problem.
- Numerous potholes of “significant size” that opened on the Garden State Parkway south in Cranford towards the end of the morning rush were blamed for disabling at least a dozen vehicles with flat tires on February 5, reports com.
- The same problems were reported on the Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge in February 2013, with a massive pothole causing several flat tires, according to com.
No injuries or accidents were reported in these instances, but this shows how dangerous the situation could be. If a car on the narrow Garden State Parkway is traveling too fast and slams into a pothole, it could have a flat tire and the driver could easily lose control; alternatively, if the driver pulled over to check on the tire in an area that was unsafe, an accident could easily happen.
There have been many instances of accidents caused by potholes in New Jersey.
- A motorcyclist was killed on I-287 in Montville when she was thrown from her motorcycle after hitting a pothole in June 2014, according to NJ.com.
- A Morganville man was heading west on Kings Road in Chatham when his car struck a large pothole, veered right, hit a parked car and flipped over, coming to rest on its roof in March 2013, reports NJ.com. Surprisingly, no one was reported injured in the accident.
- A New Jersey Superior Court Judge suffered a fractured skull after the bike he was riding hit a pothole and he lost control of the bike in Medford in 2009, according to NJ.com. His injuries would have been worse if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet.
It’s not just the potholes that are dangerous — swerving around them can also result in an accident, and even fixing them can create a hazardous situation. Eventually most potholes get filled, and that may involve lane closures, multiple maintenance trucks and traffic back-ups. If a driver is not paying attention, he or she could rear-end a road repair truck or another vehicle stuck in traffic.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident involving a pothole, you must act quickly. Under state law, the government entity responsible for the road or highway may be found liable if their negligence caused the pothole, but notice must be given to that agency within 90 days of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an accident caused by a pothole in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of James C. DeZao at (973) 358-6134 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the accident, how the law may apply and how you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries.