The Cost of Car Damages from Potholes

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The average motorist shells out $300 per year due to pothole damages. But not all potholes and their aftereffects are created equal. Those costs can be much higher. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), pothole damages to U.S. motorists total about $3 billion per year. On a per-pothole-incident basis, that works out to about $300 per driver. But depending on what part of your car was damaged those costs can vary quite a bit. Tires, wheels, suspension systems, exhaust systems, and car bodies are the most common casualties. So…read more

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Driverless Cars vs. Potholes

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When autonomous vehicles come upon a pothole they don’t react like a human. Emerging technologies could solve this problem, but there are ethical issues to iron out. Chess-playing computers have been able to beat humans at the game since at least 2005. But car-driving automation (some call them driverless or autonomous vehicles) is something else. Programmers haven’t fully figured out how to make the rule-bending decisions that humans make on a daily basis to avoid potholes. Consider how drivers sometimes break the law to avoid accidents. In a split second…read more

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Why Are Winter Pothole Repairs So Lousy?

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The difference between temporary and permanent pothole repairs illustrates how there are different kinds of asphalt. So why not fix potholes right the first time? We tend to think of road pavement, most of which is asphalt (some is concrete), as generic. In fact it’s not. And that’s why most municipalities dealing with winter potholes use a type of temporary pothole filler. Come spring and summer, road crews return with “permanent asphalt” to do permanent fixes. Which begs some obvious questions: Why fix something twice? Does that not double the…read more

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Permanent Pothole Repair – In Cold and Water?

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Hot asphalt is more finicky than most people realize: It can’t fix pavement in cold and wet conditions. That’s why newer asphalt formulations were devised. It’s remarkable that asphalt has and continues to be so important in modern society. For all our technologies in a digital age, having flat pavement for cars, trucks, buses and bicycles is as important as ever. When potholes and lengthy road building activity slow traffic, it reduces the speed of commerce and takes time away from peoples’ lives. So how can America maintain its $2 trillion-plus investment…read more

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Pothole Predictions for Winter 2017-2018

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Accumulating historical data, particularly on El Niño and La Niña conditions, provide some idea on how the coming winter will affect us – and our streets. Predicting the weather is regarded as an inexact science. But from when the first Farmer’s Almanac was printed in 1792 until today, the tools for doing so have improved considerably. The wooliness of caterpillars, early geese departures, and rings around the moon are giving way to sensors, satellites, Big Data, and algorithms that give us a little more accurate reading of what we face in the…read more

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