Did you know that poor road conditions account for one-third of traffic-related deaths? One of the many reasons why you want to avoid a pothole that could cause serious damage to your vehicle and make you lose control of your car.  But what happens if a Police Officer sees you swerving to avoid one of these potholes?

Pot Holes in New Jersey
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This may sound silly, but the truth is some people have been given traffic citations for their swerving to avoid a pothole:
-A lady in Canton, Ohio
-Residents in Spokane, Washington
-A man driving in Rosemount, Minnesota

According to New Jersey law, swerving to avoid a pothole could be perceived by a Police officer as Reckless or Careless Driving. This is a legal definition of Reckless Driving:

"A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others - The driver must be consciously aware that their actions pose risk to the public in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger a person or property."

What makes Reckless Driving different than Careless Driving is when a person Purposely or Knowingly endangers themselves or other people with their operation of a motor vehicle.  If a Police Officer has reason to believe someone is driving in a manner that would be endangering themselves or others, they should investigate, even if they are just trying to avoid a dangerous pothole.

Police Officer Writing Ticket in New Jersey
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A conviction for Careless Driving in New Jersey will get you two points on your license, a minimum fee of $25 along with a potential surcharge up to $150 and extreme cases could result in up to 15 days of jail time.  The more serious Reckless Driving conviction in New Jersey will result in at least five points on your driving record and a fine of up to $200 dollars but a judge could give a jail sentence of up to 60 days along with a suspension of your driver's license.

Photo from Canva Images
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So how can you avoid getting a ticket for swerving around a Pothole?  Police Officers have said that the best way to let them and other drivers know what you are doing is to slow down plus show your brake lights. This alerts everyone that you are encountering an issue that is causing you to slow down and potentially have to make an evasive driving maneuver.

Photo from Canva Images
Photo from Canva Images
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So the next time you see a pothole you need to avoid, just slow down and evade the road hazard in a controlled manner. Swerving or aggressively driving around anything is a red flag to a Police Officer and will typically lead to them hitting their lights and pulling you over on the side of the road.

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Gallery Credit: Heather DeLuca

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