Most of us have had that sinking feeling. You see (or don’t see) a pothole at the last instant, too late to avoid hitting it with your tires.
Immediately, you sense whether you’ve blown a tire. And you listen hard and feel the car beneath you, probing for any inkling of damage to the rims, suspension or frame.
It can be a helpless feeling and, understandably, can be followed by anger — at the pothole and at whomever is responsible for repairing the road.
But most municipalities have a policy against paying for damage caused by potholes. This week, the city of Anderson sent a press release, noting that the city declines to cover such damage. Madison County and some other local government units have similar policies.
While it may not be of comfort to someone who has blown a tire and bent a rim, these policies are sound. The city and county would open themselves up to a lot of liability if they did cover pothole damage.
That’s not to take the city and county off the hook for potholes. Local government has a responsibility to its citizens to see that potholes are repaired as quickly as possible. If that means working overtime to do so, so be it. It also means blocking off stretches of road where monster potholes wait to swallow vehicles whole.
Meanwhile, motorists must exercise caution. With freezing and thawing weather patterns, potholes will get worse and worse. Motorists should drive slowly, particularly on unfamiliar streets. Hitting a pothole at 10 miles per hour is easier on your car than striking one at 30 mph.
In summary Local government has a responsibility to citizens to repair potholes as quickly as possible.