Watch out for holes in the road!

Published on 12/02/2024, updated on 12/03/2024

Watch out for holes in the road!

The more roads there are, the more holes there are. The more holes there are, the less road there is.
After snow and ice, cracks and holes are born! Where do these holes come from? It’s a game between cracks, water, and freezing, explains the Bridges and Highways Administration regularly.

It’s as simple as that, water seeps into the cracks in the road surface, freezes, expands, destroys the asphalt, and thus a hole in the surface is formed! Traffic and the vibrations it causes by passing over and through, do the rest.

To prevent the formation of potholes, the Bridges and Highways Administration regularly renews the surface of our road network, but despite good maintenance, holes can form, especially on heavily trafficked sections. And, it’s not very fun to hit such a hole, tires and rims don’t appreciate it at all.

That’s why, especially in winter, keep your distance so you can spot them early enough to avoid them, they are numerous at the moment. If you encounter such a hole in the road surface, you can help by informing the administration. The best way to do this is via the website under the Contact section. It is important to describe exactly the location concerned, for example which highway, at what height, and which lane is affected. Thus, this hole can be quickly repaired, even in winter, and the danger is averted. To repair holes in winter, “cold asphalt” is used.

In addition, the Bridges and Highways Administration regularly also gladly uses different materials, given that there is also constant development in this area. To eliminate these holes in the long term, the surface must be completely replaced at the location concerned. However, this is only possible if the weather conditions are favorable, i.e., it must be dry and above 5 degrees for an extended period, which is not often the case in winter.

If you’ve hit such a hole and think your vehicle has been damaged, what should you do? On the highway, it’s best not to stop directly. It’s dangerous and you risk causing an accident.

If possible, exit the highway as soon as possible. If you can’t, position yourself on the emergency lane. Immediately exit your vehicle, put on your safety vest, and go behind the safety barriers. Call the police, 113. Then, contact the breakdown service. If the vehicle is damaged, you must document it. Take photos of the damage and, if possible and if it’s not too dangerous, of the hole. You can also send these photos to P&CH via their website. The administration will review your file and, if necessary, if you can prove that your damage was caused by the hole, they may possibly take it over. However, this depends on a case-by-case basis and cannot be guaranteed.

Some time ago, a municipality in the German region of Thuringia did not have the means to eliminate the holes in its streets and renovate them. The mayor had the brilliant idea of selling the town’s holes on the Internet for 50 euros. What initially seemed like a joke quickly turned out to be a success.

The potholes, numbering 257, sold like hotcakes. Buyers were rewarded with a plaque bearing their name and a message of their choice, which was then inserted into the concerned hole with the new tarring.

It could be that the mayor’s idea was borrowed from the American state of Ohio. For decades, it has been possible to sponsor street holes there.

In the past, during the GDR era, when money was also lacking for refurbishment, residents planted flowers in the holes. This certainly did not help the road surface, but it was nonetheless prettier afterwards. Thus, with a bit of creative imagination, it is possible to accomplish things.