Potholes can be a common sight on roads. You probably don’t think much of them and just do your best to avoid them, but potholes can be dangerous enough to cause accidents. Any accident that a car can get into is even more dangerous for a motorcycle.
Why are potholes dangerous?
A pothole is a depression caused by damage to a road surface. Potholes are usually caused by water weakening the soil underneath the road surface, which then has less support and is prone to breakage when being driven over by heavy vehicles. The longer that a pothole goes unrepaired, the more damage is done to the road and the deeper and wider the pothole can grow. A large enough pothole can cause damage to tires, wheels, and suspensions. Serious accidents can occur, especially on roads where traffic is traveling at a high speed.
Potholes can be particularly dangerous at night when they are difficult to see, or when they are filled with water after rain, which makes them look like any other puddle and may disguise their depth and severity.
Why are potholes dangerous for motorcycles?
Potholes can cause damage and accidents even for cars. A motorcycle’s smaller size, two wheels, and more delicate handling make it even harder to maintain control when hitting an object or dangerous road obstacle like a pothole. Motorcyclists do not wear seat belts like car drivers do, which means that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous to drive because the driver and any passenger are not secured to the vehicle and may be ejected in a collision. Motorcycles are also prone to flipping over or veering into oncoming traffic. With only two wheels, if your motorcycle drives over a pothole, you have no other wheels on the road surface providing traction like a car does, making you more likely to lose control.
A study by the British Automobile Association found that motorcyclists and bicyclists were three times more likely to be involved in crashes caused by potholes than car drivers. When the road surface was a contributory factor to an accident, 45% of those vehicles were motorcycles or bicycles, and the overall casualty rate for motorcyclists and bicyclists was about 25 times higher than for car drivers and passengers.
How to Avoid Pothole Accidents
- Keep well behind the vehicle in front of you. This gives you more time to react when an obstacle or road damage pops up in the road ahead. Be particularly careful when following large trucks.
- Watch the vehicles in front of you. If you pay attention, you should notice the cars ahead of you if they swerve around something in the road ahead or dip up and down while driving over a pothole.
- Drive at a reasonable speed when making turns. If the road is curved ahead of you, it limits your ability to see objects or dangerous spots of damage. Driving more slowly will give you more time to react when you see something. It’s also easier to lose control of your motorcycle if you hit something while you’re in the middle of a turn.
- Be wary of puddles. A pothole filled with water can look identical to a shallow puddle. Regardless, any water in the road is a dangerous spot that you would be wise to avoid.
- Report any potholes you come across to the department of transportation so that they can be repaired and prevent accidents in the future.