Any Nashville resident will confirm the road conditions have been awful with an increase of potholes. In and around Davidson County, drivers are having to weave around potholes to avoid damaging their vehicle.
How Potholes are Formed
Majority of the roads in the U.S. are paved with asphalt. Asphalt is a premium building material that performs well under most weather conditions. The basic construction of asphalt (sometimes called pavement or blacktop) is made with aggregate and tar. The aggregate is finely ground rocks and sand. The tar is a binding agent that brings the aggregate together. The tar lends itself to the black, dark color and gives roads a little flexibility. Most cities prefer to use it because it withstands Tennessee's hot summers and cold winters. Pavement is installed in different layers. It starts with a base layer, includes a binder layer, and finishes with a surface layer.
How Potholes are Formed
With that necessary information addressed, let's talk about the formation of potholes. Surface damage to the roads can cause issues down to the base layer. Potholes are formed when freezing water begins to thaw. Water that becomes ice puts a lot of stress onto the surface of the blacktop. The tar and aggregate will expand under the weight. But, as the ice thaws, the material that expanded now has air pockets where the water once stood. The air pockets make the pavement vulnerable. As heavy cars at high speeds travel over the road and across these weak spots, the asphalt will begin to cave in resulting in a pothole.
Pothole Issue in Nashville
Because potholes are formed from the thawing of ice, you can imagine that there is a "pothole season." Throughout February and March, most of the harsh winter weather becomes more pleasant, making it the best time to create potholes. By February of 2019, Metro Public Works already filled 10% more potholes than it did in February 2018. Considering pothole season can last for another month or so, that's a pretty high average. Why are there more potholes on the roads than usual? Nashville didn't experience much regarding winter weather at the end of 2018. But, February 2019 has been one of the rainiest on record with 13.5 inches of rain. While it might not form ice on the surface, the rain can penetrate to the binder or base layer and freeze at night. Most likely, that is what's happening in and around the Nashville area.
Have you been in a card accident because of a pothole? Contact Bart Durham today.
The Damage Potholes Can Do to Cars
Hitting a pothole is uncomfortable for drivers and passengers alike. But, besides the discomfort, what issues could potholes present?
Popping a Tire
Your tire has treads that are designed to protect your vehicle while driving. The tire is also inflated. The inflation gives the car some give, allowing it to hit small cracks and run over debris. A pothole edge is sharp. As the tire rolls over the pothole, the sharp edge can add pressure to the tire and cause it to pop. Potholes also separate the tread, giving you an increased opportunity to skid.
Bend Your Wheels Out of Shape
The next portion of your car to feel the impact of a pothole is the wheel. Imagine the tire popping at high speed. If the hole is large enough, the wheel can sink down and cause the wheel to bend. The weight of the vehicle and the motion, is enough to blow it out of shape.
Suspension and Alignment
The suspension in alignment does a lot of absorb impact and keeping the car straight as you drive. If you were to hit a pothole, the result could send the entire thing out of line weakening it and potentially causing issues with steering your car.
Any of these issues can be avoided if you swerve to miss the hole. The issue with that is then you run the risk of causing an accident as you try to act quickly. Additionally, having a tire pop or the alignment ruined could your car into another.
Who is Liable for the Damage Done to my Car Because of a Pothole?
Who is liable for the damage done to your car depends on where the even happened. The government maintains public roads in Nashville. Most likely you will be dealing with either Metro Public Works or TDOT.
Government Road Maintenance
If you were driving and hit a pothole on a government road, they would be the ones responsible for the damages. Typically, they are given a reasonable amount of time to conduct repairs. Failing to fix a pothole within a fair amount of times allows you the opportunity to file a claim.
Private Road Maintenance
Hitting a pothole on a road or parking lot privately owned and operated means you will need to file a claim with the group/individual/party who owns it. Proving your claim requires some assistance from an attorney with experience getting survey records and other documentation.
If your car has been affected by the pothole issues in Nashville, call Bart Durham Injury Law today to find out whether or not you have a claim.