Potholes are a familiar nuisance to Chicagoans, and with recent dramatic weather changes, they’ve started to cause problems on streets and highways again.
Two co-workers recently learned of the common hazard the hard way: They both fell victim to the same pothole along a stretch of Interstate 294.
Li Qiu was driving home on Wednesday when all lanes shifted on the highway, and a pothole appeared out of nowhere.
“I have a barrier on my left and I have traffic on my right,” he said. “Once I saw the pothole, I had nowhere to run. I hit it.”
Later that day, Qui’s co-worker hit the same pothole.
“I showed him the mile marker where I was, and it was the exact same spot where he was, so we thought it was funny at the time,” Jose Flores said. “But it’s really frustrating, and it’s costing us a lot of time, money and frustration.”
The pothole in question has since been patched by the Illinois Turnpike, but there are countless others left in the area.
Tire shops say that this time of year potholes keep them busy the most.
“We’re coming out of winter,” said Justin Beckefeld of Discount Tire. “The ground is starting to thaw. The concrete is breaking. The asphalt. You’ve got your plows going by, and it’s just starting to tear everything up.”
Beckefeld said that even if a tire is new, it’s not immune to what a pothole can do.
“Even if you hit it and feel like you’re still fine, it’s better, we always tell everyone to bring it, let us take a look at it,” he said. declared. “Just to make sure you’re safe.”
Tire experts say the best thing to do is to be proactive and check your tire pressure at least once a month.
“It’s going to help extend them, and it’s also going to help stop damage when a tire is underinflated,” Beckefeld said.
Qiu, who hit the pothole on his first trip home from the office in two years, also wants to warn other drivers who may have worked from home during the pandemic.
“It’s the season, and it’s Chicago, so you have to get used to it, but also be careful,” he said.