Anyone who is a regular commuter on Interstate 264 in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), knows that they are in for a rough ride. Over the last few years, the number and size of potholes, and the temporary asphalt fixes that have been made on that particular stretch of interstate have left us with atrocious road conditions. The bumpy road conditions are more than just an annoyance, however; they are in fact a safety hazard.
While a passenger in a car might feel jostled around while riding down a pothole-ridden interstate, the vehicle itself is under significant strain. Your car’s suspension system and shocks, which are designed to help absorb the impacts of bumps and ruts, is particularly affected and regularly driving on a damaged road can cause damage to your vehicle. If a pothole is large enough, the impact from driving over it can be the equivalent of experiencing an actual car accident. In addition, potholes are extremely hard on your vehicle’s tires and can result in incidents while driving. In fact, along Interstate 264, nearly a third of all vehicle incidents reported last year were tire-related, amounting to nearly 3 incidents a day. Many of these were likely related to the poor road conditions.
Aside from the damage that can be cause to your vehicle, simply navigating a road in poor condition can be dangerous, particularly when that road is an interstate with a high volume of traffic. Collisions are simply more likely as vehicles attempt to avoid driving through potholes by swerving or unexpectedly changing speed to lessen the impact.
The potholes along Interstate 264 are a symptom of poor road construction quality combined with some recent harsh winter weather that causes the road deterioration while also making adequate repairs impossible. The temporary asphalt patches have, in some ways, only made the problem worse. Fortunately, the Virginia Department of Transportation acknowledges the issues with Interstate 264 and since 2009 has been developing plans for a more permanent fix. Those repairs come with a price tag of $3 million in order to replace entire sections of failing concrete over the span of two summers.
Of course, the fixes to Interstate 264 are not going to come over night. So for the next couple of years while we put up with the annoyance of the bumpy road, we also need to be extra cautious to protect both our cars and our passengers.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.