Trooper Tips: Holes in Our Life

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By Master Trooper Gary Cutler

One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray has a line in one of his reports that is also a favorite of mine. “Well, it’s Groundhog Day…again.” That resonates with me more than you know. Well, it’s pothole season…again.

After a Colorado winter, we see an influx of potholes around the state. This is not the fault of road crews, it’s just our weather tearing into the roads as it does every year. So why bring up these axel killers? They can also be dangerous for drivers.

Often, I see people driving along the roadway and suddenly slam their brakes to try and limit the pothole experience. While I understand the urge to avoid the pothole, there are other ways to accomplish it.

A pothole can be seen prior to coming upon it if you are doing that scan beyond the hood I talk about. If you slam your brakes just prior to getting to, it you may end up knowing the driver behind you more than you wanted. Even though they should be giving you enough distance in case you have to use your brakes, often they aren’t, and we end up with a crash. Scan your lane so you can see the potholes in time and slow gently.

The other situation I see with potholes is the swerve. When swerving, most times the vehicle hits the pothole anyways, so it didn’t do any good. When a driver swerves, especially when it causes the vehicle to go into the oncoming lane it can be deadly. Even if you don’t go into the other lane, the swerve may cause you to lose control and crash especially if you still hit the pothole.

If you do happen to come up to a pothole and didn’t see it in time, it is best to hit it straight on. I understand you may have damage in the way of a flat tire, bent rim, or possibly some axle damage depending on the speed it was hit, but you will be around to get it fixed.

No matter what I discuss here, it always comes down to keeping control of your vehicle and letting other drivers know what you’re going to do prior to doing it.

As always, safe travels!

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