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Pothole dodgems: SA is not alone

2014-03-27 09:39

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU POTHOLES… Volunteer teacher Rosie Morrison posted this photo on Facebook to highlight the pothole problem on the R36. Image: Lyndenrust Guest Farm, Facebook

Shredded tyres, damaged suspension or worse… Dodging potholes is sad reality of driving on South African roads. Given the heavy rainfall experienced in Gauteng and much of northern South Africa, potholes have become a nightmare in many areas.

The problem is exacerbated at night due to poor visibility and often no reflector nor light posts on roads, hitting a pothole while driving in the dark is a terrifying prospect.


Consider the implications of our terrible roads for school buses and emergency service vehicles.

Due to poor road conditions and a high death toll, South Africa's N2 highway has been named as the 12th 'most dangerous road in the world', according to British automotive company Driving Experiences.


Some drivers have taken to poking fun at the situation by posting humorous images of potholes  via social media. In January 2014, volunteer teacher Rosie Morrison published photos of herself taking a bath  in one of the potholes on the R36 (between Machadodorp and Mashishing).

Morrison posed with a shower cap, book, glass of wine, and shampoo while “bathing” in a pothole. She encouraged drivers to spread the message that the ANC had to fix potholes that threatened the lives of all road users.


What’s government doing about it? Well some contractors have a cookie-cutter approach to potholes – painting over them.

Earlier in March, News24 reported that contractors painted over potholes on a 28km stretch of road that cost the North West government R23m to upgrade.

Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi reported that tenders had been issued for upgrades to the N12 between Misgund interchange, near Eldorado Park, and Merafong, as well as for improvements of the R28 from Randfontein and Vereeniging.


Another danger to potholes stems from the lengths drivers will go to avoid hitting them. In a survey commissioned by Kwik Fit, drivers confessed to employing dangerous tactics to dodge potholes.

One in five of the drivers surveyed also admitted swerving towards oncoming traffic to avoid a crater. The potentially dangerous consequences of swerving to avoid a pothole, only to cause a head-on collision, are horrifying to say the least.


At least South African drivers can take some solace in that potholes and poor road conditions are a global scourge.

A journalist reporting for the Detroit News  believes that the US state of Michigan should change its ‘Pure tourism’  slogan to  ‘Pure Potholes - Your trip begins, but won’t end without a flat tyre.’

Read more on:    anc  |  south africa  |  roads  |  road deaths  |  potholes

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