Since its launch in May, steady progress is being made by The Pothole Patrol project, with more than 2 500 potholes filled.
“We are pleased with the progress and difference made to date – but road conditions are a lot worse than we thought,” said Anneli Retief, head of Dialdirect.
“We are repairing much bigger, deeper and more severe crevices and holes that occur as a result of digging during road construction, or for creating a passage for the laying of pipes and fibre cables. These are not classified as potholes but, rather, road defects or deep trenches requiring reinstatement.”
Discovery Insure chief executive Anton Ossip said if the traditional, defined size of a pothole was combined with the road defects and deep trenches, The Pothole Patrol had repaired the equivalent of 10 000 road defects to date – or the size of a rugby field.
“The Pothole Patrol is committed to repairing as many potholes as it can – typically at an impressive rate of 600 defects per week and is gearing up to be able to repair even more,” said Ossip.
“At the moment, The Pothole Patrol is working its magic in the City of Joburg on main arterial routes and roads on which vehicles typically drive at a high speed.”
Why are potholes prolific?
The answer lies in the way in which they are formed.
“A pothole is depression or a hollow in a road surface. They form when moisture or water seeps below the surface of the road and dislodges the base layer,” said Retief.
“As vehicles drive over them, more of the road surface chips away and the holes expand. The bigger and deeper they become, the more dangerous they are, causing damage to vehicles and sometimes accidents.”
And just because you emerge from the pothole without a flat tyre, don’t assume that there is nothing wrong with your car. There could be future problems with your alignment or suspension.
“Watch out for the tell-tale signs – your car pulling to one side of the road while driving, or your car bouncing excessively on a smooth road,” said Retief.
“The best way to avoid any of these problems is to simply steer clear of the pothole altogether, which is easier said than done, although not impossible.”
By adhering to the tips below, you can save thousands of rands of damage to your car:
Don’t tailgate: If you are far enough behind the driver in front of you, you will have a better chance of taking an evasive manoeuvre with the extra space and avoid hitting the pothole.
Slow down: By doing so, you will be able to act accordingly when you see a pothole ahead.
Puddles contain hidden dangers: Use extreme caution whendriving over puddles – what may appear as a level hole could contain a very deep pothole.
Pay special attention to your tyre pressure: Keep tyre pressure consistently at the manufacturer’s recommendation. This will help protect your vehicle’s wheels and tyres from damage.
Hold steering wheel tightly: Hold your steering wheel firmly and keep both hands on it at all times. You don’t want a stray pothole to thrown you off course.
If you’re going to hit a pothole, don’t brake: Your car’s weight is distributed evenly between the front and rear axles. When you slow down or accelerate the weight distribution changes. When you brake, the front axle gets more weight, and when you accelerate, the rear axle gets more load.
It is recommended that you release the brakes immediately before your car hits a pothole. When you brake heavily, your car tends to nosedive. When you let off the brake, the car rocks back and you have more suspension over the front wheels, helping to absorb some of the blow.