Driving Psychology and Insurance – The Pot Hole

driving psychology and insurance the pot hole

Welcome to Ben’s Chronicles

Hello! I’m Ben from EINSURANCE. Trust me, I know there are plenty of things we’d both probably rather be doing than discussing insurance. But although insurance gets a bad rap, it does have its benefits; especially when you find the right coverage and carrier.

Unfortunately, throughout my life I have had a knack for being at the wrong place, at the right time. Given my gravitational pull toward bad luck, I wanted to share a few of my life experiences with you in hopes that my bad luck could benefit you. So, bear with me over the upcoming weeks, because I’ll be sharing little nuggets I’ve learned through navigating the insurance world. If my mishaps and theories don’t directly help answer any of your insurance related questions, I promise they’ll make you laugh, albeit at my expense…

If you would like me to discuss a specific topic, feel free to email me at askben@einsure.com.

Today our topic is:

Driving Psychology and Insurance – The Pot Hole

In our continuing series of articles discussing the idiosyncrasies of the American Driving Public, we bring you the concept of The Pot Hole.

One of the challenges of modern driving is the POT HOLE. No it has nothing to do with the legalization of Marijuana, at least not a direct connection. Sometimes you do wonder what people are thinking when they try to repair a hole in the road.

America’s crumbling infrastructure is a challenge for today’s drivers. From bridges that are rusting away to flooded cloverleaf turning circles we have a problem that needs to be addressed! The Pot Hole is one of the most common types of driving obstacles that we encounter in our every day life.

Wikipedia defines a Pot Hole as: A structural failure in a road surface, usually asphalt pavement, due to water in the underlying soil structure and traffic passing over the affected area. This definition does not give justice to the seriousness of the situation. Often you hear the saying:  ‘you could lose your car in that pot hole’. It is no joke; there are huge potholes, especially in the Northeast and especially in the spring after the snow has melted.

There are a few kinds of potholes that come to mind:

  1. The Vintage Hole: It is shaped like an old bathtub, with the slight ramp in and the killer wall on the way out. You know when your front wheel hits the wall, because you are already praying that your tire is still there; forget what just happened to your alignment!
  2. The Neglected Hole: You know this one. The road was originally a cement road with spacers and then when they could not afford to fix the cement, they put asphalt over it. The salt from winter eats at the cement and each year the hole reappears as the asphalt sinks into the cement hole. These are best loved because they repeat every 15 yards until your back teeth are aching from the bouncing.
  3. The Cheap Construction Hole: When you build a road with a few inches of gravel underneath and then asphalt over top, what do you expect? These potholes are hated because even the experienced driver cannot dodge them.
  4. The Hidden Hole: Who does not enjoy driving through a puddle once in a while. All that splash is fun, as long as it does not hit anyone, Right! Well the worst of the potholes are those at the bottom of a puddle. They are hidden from view and they are just holes that swallow your tire, and your passenger’s opinion of your driving.
  5. The Repaired Hole: This is the worst kind of pothole. Someone actually got out there with soft asphalt, filled the hole, took credit for the repair but never pushed the asphalt into the depths of the pot hole, so after a few trucks, the hole is right back, it just looks better.

There are so many stories about potholes, but my favorite is on Rt. 95 in Connecticut. It is Friday afternoon and you left work in New York City early so you could go visit some friends in Boston. You said you would be there for dinner! The worst part of the trip is usually through the Bronx, but no, you get to the BQE and it is smooth sailing, you’ve got your coffee and your music and you are ready for a hop through Connecticut. You beat the traffic in Stamford, and you are now passing New Haven! All is good with the world and you congratulate yourself for beating the Friday afternoon traffic! Then all of a sudden, after you have committed yourself to Rt. 95 when you pass the Rt 91 exit, all stops.

At first you are convinced that it is an accident. Some drivers were texting and driving at the same time and plowed into the back of the car in front. Ok, this is not a high traffic area so the accident must be close. You wait for flashing lights in the hope that this agony of 3 miles per hour will end. You rise up a bridge and look ahead, all you see is cars and more cars.

Finally you round a bend, and you see that there are red cones on the right hand side of the road and two lanes are closed. They are closed for as far as you can see! Your butt starts hurting and your passenger wants to use the rest room and truth be told, you do too. You figure this is just some road repair and it will be over soon.

An hour and a half later, you are still inching along, dinner in Boston is a distant pipe dream and you are ready to kill someone for closing two lanes of a three-lane road 20 miles ago without a detour. WAIT! Up ahead you see something in the two right lanes that have been empty for the last 20 miles, could it be some activity?

By now you have calculated that with 10s of thousands of cars on this road, on a Friday afternoon and all the hours that each person has spent waiting for some shred of hope, that there are a lot of very unhappy people. You inch closer to the orange trucks in the closed lanes.

You cannot believe your eyes, after all this time, there is one lonely guy with a shovel dropping black asphalt into some pot holes on the far right lane. There is no one pounding the asphalt down so it will soon be another pothole anyhow. To make matters worse; he then has to walk all the way around the dump truck following him to refill his shovel, so one pothole takes a long time to fill in this haphazard manner. Then you notice that the reason they closed two lanes is because they need a whole second lane of buffer, so the second truck is just sitting there blocking the other lane as well all in efforts to repair this pot hole.

So many questions go through your mind that you feel your brain will short circuit!

What about at night? What about two people? What about a machine to do this? What about the lives of all these people? What does it cost in fuel to idle for all this time? But what is most urgent? Your Bladder!!

Due to texting, this same scenario probably includes some fender benders as well.

Unfortunately, for now, there is no going away from the beloved U.S. created, pot hole!

About David Thompson

David Thompson is President and CEO of eINSURE Services, Inc. Dave is on the Board of Directors of AmerInst Insurance Group, Bermuda and is Chairman of the Underwriting Committee, as well as co-inventors of RINITS, a new insurance securitization product. He has a history of creating successful new ventures in the insurance business.