A new sport – Pothole Dodging

To the Editor:

This winter, we’ve been experiencing extremely low temperatures at night and there have been more snow and rainstorms than in recent years.

As I was navigating the roads during the aftermath of one of the many storms, I noticed how many times I needed to swerve to miss potholes. I was focusing more intently on the road ahead and started challenging myself to see if I could miss every pothole.

I swerved as a pothole came along, but found that it was not possible to miss it. So I played a game with myself, I got points for missing one and I lost points for driving over one.

I lost one point when I grazed over a pothole and two points for a direct hit. Hitting a pothole at a slow speed would be barely felt, but having a direct hit at accelerated speed would be apparent and inevitably shake the car, vibrating the steering wheel and would perhaps lead to costly repairs. I decided there would be a definite loss of 10 points for that.

This whole system of navigating the roads to avoid the potholes, I called Pothole Dodging.

I began pondering the leading-edge technology that automakers are working on to make cars and roads safer, which includes: vehicle-to-vehicle communication and vehicle-to-
infrastructure communication. They plan on having cars sense each other and traffic lights or stop signs. Pothole Dodging would require vehicles to have road condition sensing devises built in to the car.

New cars could have this game built into dashboard computers along with odometer readings and other features. Electronic sensors could account for the road hazards and indicate the severity of challenges such as potholes or frost heaves for easy scoring.

Maybe some day people could have these options connected to their home or work computer so they could monitor their improved scoring or be connected to their insurance company allowing these improvements to earn discounts on their auto insurance.

While I don’t see Pothole Dodging becoming an Olympic sport any time soon, focusing today more on driving would lead to more road safety. It partly removes the temptation to talk on or text on your smart phone while driving.

Try it … and add a little fun to the long winter!

DON ALUSIC

Amherst