Interstate 440 is a seven-mile loop that was designed to relieve traffic on major streets and interstates near downtown Nashville, but it’s now just as congested as the roads it was intended to spare from heavy traffic volumes.
Per a report by WSMV, the road is used by more than 100,000 vehicles every day, and the constant wear and tear has resulted in major cracks, rough patches, and potholes—all of which can result in accidents, injuries, and serious damage to vehicles.
A local driver told reporters that she uses I-440 every day to get to work, and a pothole caused a broken axle on her vehicle.
While calls to repair or even replace the road surface on I-440 aren’t new, officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation say that there are already plans to permanently fix the oft-damaged interstate. However, the price tag for the replacement is $75 million.
Because the road is made of concrete instead of asphalt, repair options are limited, which means that entire road surface will need to be replaced. However, work won’t be able to begin for at least another year, as bids for the job won’t start until 2018 at the earliest.
What Can You Do to Avoid Damage Caused by Potholes?
Potholes may seem like minor annoyances, but when they get big or deep enough, they can cause serious damage to your vehicle. They can cause serious front-end damage, tire blowouts and wheel damage, and even completely total vehicles that drive through them. However, that’s not the extent of the dangers associated with these roadway defects, as they can also cause serious accidents that lead to serious injuries.
Whether you’re driving on I-440 or any other roadway with potholes, follow these tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and other drivers:
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the car in front of you.
The best way to avoid pothole damage is to be able to see them before it’s too late. When you’re driving in dense traffic or following another vehicle, you may not be able to spot a pothole until you hit it. Leaving plenty of room gives you ample time and opportunity to scan the road ahead of you and avoid these roadway defects.
- Keep your tires properly inflated.
Some roadways have so many potholes that it can be difficult or even impossible to avoid hitting a few, especially if they are part of your daily commute. To reduce your risks of tire or wheel damage, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations when putting air in your tires, and check the air pressure frequently to make sure they stay within that range.
- Don’t swerve to avoid potholes.
If you see that you’re approaching a large pothole and don’t have time to safely change lanes, avoid swerving or jerking your steering wheel to avoid hitting it. Doing so can significantly increase your risk of an accident, as you may steer into the path of a vehicle in an adjacent lane or even lose control of your vehicle. Instead, slow down to minimize the impact—but don’t slam on your brakes, especially if a vehicle is close behind you.
As mentioned above, potholes are sometimes unavoidable. But how can you know if your vehicle was damaged by a pothole? Experts say that some common symptoms of pothole damage include uneven steering—which indicates an alignment issue, strange noises originating in your engine or exhaust system, a tendency for your vehicle to steer to the left or right, and overall poor vehicle handling. These can indicate damage that may get worse over time, so have a mechanic inspect your car if you notice any of these signs.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys knows that potholes are just one potential cause of vehicle damage, accidents, and injuries that lurk on roadways in Middle Tennessee. However, the most common cause of crashes is driver negligence. If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash that was caused by a careless driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how we can assist you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.