Bump, bump… swerve! After a long, harsh winter, potholes are back.
Potholes aren’t just a nuisance on your daily commute. They can be a real drain on your wallet if your vehicle is damaged by one. They are also a leading cause of car accidents since drivers often brake quickly or swerve unexpectedly to avoid them.
Some cities are turning to interactive, online solutions when it comes time to dealing with these pain-in-the-butt potholes. The solutions aim to increase the efficiency of reporting and repairing potholes and to get drivers more involved.
In addition to being able to report potholes, some programs also include the status of the repair request, when a pothole was repaired and how long it took to repair it. One city (unfortunately, not in the U.S.), took it a step further and resorted to "tweeting" potholes when the government failed to respond quickly to the problem.
If you live in one of these cities, take advantage of this new way to report potholes (and make a mental note of which streets to avoid).
Five cities using technology to report potholes
- Chicago: The Windy City’s Pothole Tracker shows which potholes got patched within the last week at the click of a mouse.
- Indianapolis: The Indy Pothole Viewer features a map that’s currently littered with colored dots showing lots of potholes in need of repair. The site lets you report potholes and check the status of your pothole request.
- Philadelphia: Philly’s Pothole Tracker also allows you to view and report potholes. It also lets you filter the requests to see which pothole cases are open, closed and acknowledged.
- Rochester, New York: A local newspaper runs this interactive map that lets visitors see where potholes are located, read a running narrative about which areas and roads to avoid, and report potholes.
- Washington, D.C.: In the nation’s capital, the D.C. Department of Transportation hosts an interactive map that alerts drivers to dangers on the road. Here, you can complete an online service request and watch your pothole turn from orange to green when it's filled.
- Bonus: Pennsylvania and New York residents that live near the New Jersey border have another tracker to use. A New Jersey-based grassroots pothole tracker encourages residents and those in neighboring states to help track potholes. Users can file reports online or via the MapplerK app available for Apple and Android.
These websites can help you avoid potholes and the damage they can do to your car. Of course, it’s still a good idea to drive safely during pothole season. It’s also worth remembering that you might be able to file a pothole claim with your city.