Potholes a pox on motorists

Jan 26, 2023 | Communities


Senior Writer

The seemingly endless siege of rain and snowstorms mountainwide in recent weeks has left mountain area roadways riddled with a bumper crop of new potholes and cracked asphalt pavement. It has also expanded the size of potholes and cracks from previous winter deluges.

One motorist commented that driving around Crestline is akin to driving on the moon’s surface. And it’s not just Crestline or the other mountaintop communities, potholes are popping up all across the rain-drenched state of California. In Los Angeles alone, over 3,000 potholes have been reported since Dec. 30, with some 1,500 requests to have them filled in with new asphalt or concrete.

According to the Auto Club of Southern California (AAA), water and traffic are the two main reasons why potholes form. Together, they wreak havoc on pavement that has already been compromised by factors like age, overuse, inadequate maintenance and exposure to the weather elements. Then, when vehicles drive over the already weakened area, the surface layer crumbles into the gap below and a pothole forms. The result, AAA officials explained, is flat tires, bent wheels and damaged suspension. In fact, a recent AAA survey found that in 2021, one in 10 drivers sustained significant enough damage to warrant wheel assembly rebalancing and expensive suspension-related damage after hitting a pothole.

In the event that you spot a pothole, leave plenty of space between your car and other vehicles and check surrounding lanes for traffic before swerving to avoid holes in the road in order to prevent a head-on collision. If you can’t avoid a pothole, it’s better to hit it at slow speed, but don’t brake sharply when you’re right over the hole because it can shift the weight to the front of the vehicle, potentially damaging the suspension and shocks.

According to a Jan. 18 KTLA Channel 5 News broadcast, the average cost of repairing pothole damage is around $600 per incident. However, while collision insurance usually covers pothole damage after you pay the deductible, it may not be worth putting in the claim, because the damage your vehicle sustains could fall below the amount of your deductible.

The KTLA news anchor suggested finding out who owns the stretch of roadway and which government agency collects the claims. Caltrans can reimburse damages caused on freeways and state highways up to $10,000. For more information on filing a claim with Caltrans and collecting for damages sustained in a pothole collision, log onto https://dot.ca.gov/online-services/submit-damage-claim. You can also contact Caltrans District 8 office in San Bernardino at 464 W. 4th Street or call them directly at (909) 383-4351.

In the event the pothole damages occur on a county-owned road, you can report the incident to the San Bernardino Public Works Department by calling (888) 818-8988. To report the location of an existing pothole, use the county’s SeeClickFix mobile app, available for download on Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iPhone, or log onto https://dpw.sbcounty.gov/operations/see-click-fix/


potholes 1

Potholes 1

This damaged pavement is located on Highway 138 near Balsam Lane in Crestline. (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)

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Potholes 2

A series of wheel-jarring potholes are on Lake Drive, across from Old Mill Road in Crestline.

potholes 3

Potholes 3

These potholes are on Lake Gregory Drive, just before the traffic lights on Highway 18.


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