Following the third-highest recorded rainfall in history, Southern California roads have experienced a significant increase in potholes, prompting warnings for drivers to be vigilant. Many drivers have already reported flat tires or wheel damage due to these storm-induced potholes.
On February 7, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works reported over 159 pothole complaints received in just the preceding day, with disruptions affecting travel in downtown LA and to LAX.
During the final four to five days of the winter storm, the city logged 550 pothole complaints. By the morning of February 6, only half had been addressed, the Public Works Department reports. With the rainfall ceasing, prioritizing pothole repairs citywide is now the department’s focus.
Three days of heavy rains have left roads in LA and other Southern California areas with significant damage, including cracks and large holes. Certain potholes reach ankle depth, with others spanning over 4 feet in width.
Potholes have not only caused damage to numerous vehicles but also impeded traffic flow, especially during rush hours. The Department of Public Works has noted complaints regarding new potholes breaking vehicle suspensions and reducing driving speeds to below 20 mph.
“I tried to dodge the pothole, but I couldn’t,” Miguel Guzman of Valley Village told KTLA5, “and after my car went through the pothole, 10 other cars had to go through the same thing.”
Potholes form as rainwater penetrates and exerts pressure on weakened road surfaces. They are particularly hard to detect at night, causing damage to vehicles’ lower sections as wheels dip into them.
Los Angeles provides compensation for damage caused by potholes. Should your vehicle incur damage from a pothole, document the location and damage with photos. Claims can be filed by dialing 311 or via the city’s website.
Southern California local authorities provide reimbursements for pothole damage, subject to their specific policies. Caltrans compensates for repairs, personal injuries, or property damages up to $10,000 due to potholes and other instances of roadway mismanagement.
To avoid pothole damage, AAA advises maintaining proper tire inflation, reducing speed, ensuring a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead, and refraining from abruptly braking when encountering a pothole.
BY HYOUNGJAE KIM, HOONSIK WOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]