This year, while Americans around the country were preparing for Thanksgiving and the festivities that accompany lengthy travel times, dreaded late-night drives, and full stomachs, we were all reminded just how busy our lives can get and the chaos that ensues when we are all trying to do the same thing and get to the same place. According to AAA, the expectation this year was that 55 million vehicles were set to hit the road, traveling more than 50 miles for the holiday. That is quite the number and goes to show how reliant our culture is on the ability to travel to visit our family, friends, and loved ones.
Besides stating the obvious that 55 million drivers on the roads present serious traffic concerns and safety violations, we wanted to bring attention to the fact that throughout the United States, especially in the Midwest, weather concerns present a serious issue that unfortunately cannot go unnoticed. It is true, Chicago and the rest of the Midwest get freezing cold. We experience brutal snowstorms, yet we somehow find ways to hit the roads and make certain that we get to where we are going. However, what we often don’t think about is the fact that these severe changes in weather present far more serious issues underneath the pavement that should make us worried about more than just the road being “clear.” We have written countless times about how potholes form due to cold weather and snow atop the roads, leaving many drivers unaware that even driving over one could potentially result in a blown out tire or the inability to properly turn. These are the types of issues we want to ensure all Americans are aware of because they truly come out of nowhere.
Chicago has recently announced that it is doing what it can to address issues involving potholes, going as far as conducting Blitz Days that serve as days dedicated for only refilling potholes throughout the city. While that may seem excessive, the reality is that Chicago has issues with road infrastructure throughout the entire city. You may be asking, so what, these issues are common and happen throughout the whole country. While it is true that potholes are common, other parts of the United States do not experience the snowstorms and inclement weather that we do. Sure, hitting a pothole is tough and may result in as little as a damaged tire; however, what occurs when you throw a snowstorm or the common “snow day” on top of that incident. You very well could be left waiting on the side of the road, or worse placing others in danger by continuing to drive with a damaged tire. That’s what this serves as. A simple reminder that while the pothole you attempt to avoid is an issue the city needs to address; you are responsible for how you drive after passing over such obstacles on the road.
With us now being in the thick of Holiday season, remember that the traffic and road chaos will only increase. Sure, the more traffic there is, the slower we are driving, but it has been shown time and again that more traffic results in far more dangerous roads. Again, this may be common sense, but it’s true that these road dangers go unnoticed. Remember, we are responsible for how we drive on the roads, even after a slight “hiccup” such as running over a pothole occurs. Do your neighbor a favor and be extra cautious. When you have 55 million drivers on the road, it’s the best you can do.