A hole must be relatively large to constitute a significant safety influence when rim or tire damage are the guiding criteria. A hole must be in excess of 60 in. long and 3 in. deep to constitute a threat to the smallest automobiles at highway speeds in excess of 40 mph. On urban streets, with traffic speeds as low as 20 mph, holes must still be greater than 30 in. long and greater than 3 in. deep to have the potential of damaging tires and rims, or both. Damage to tires and rims, with the associated potential for a tire blowout, is the only significant safety-related influence of holes identified in this study. Holes are atypical of most highway surface discontinuities in that the lower the vehicle speed, the greater the potential for causing damage. Problems can arise if a driver reacts to the hole inappropriately. For example, it is counterproductive to react to a hole in the vehicle's path by braking or extreme cornering. In general, a hole of a given size is more likely to cause damage if speed is reduced. Losses of control can occur if extreme braking is produced at highway speed. Extreme cornering can have two results: (a) if a driver reacts with a large steering input to avoid a hole, he may produce a loss of control on a low friction surface; and (b) the vehicle may be put in a hazardous position with respect to other traffic. It is probably the latter that accounts for most of the accidents where holes are identified as contributing factors.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 26-27
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00450720
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 030903809X
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-039 022
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Dec 31 1985 12:00AM