Why bad roads are good for us, Part 2: Character builder?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Why Bad Roads Are Good for Us
A chronic pot hole in Detroit

This chronic pot hole in Detroit spans half the width of a street and was repaired years ago. A woman sitting on a nearby porch, on Monday, said, “You know it’s bad when the grass starts growing into the pot holes!”

“That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger,” said German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.  This adage has been repeated so often, in various forms, that it’s become part of pop culture. Singer Kelly Clarkson featured it in her 2012 hit album Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).

Does it provide insight into why bad roads are good for us?

Potholed roads certainly don’t make our cars stronger. Pothole damage costs drivers as much as $6.4 billion per year, according to AAA. But in some states and counties, you can file a claim for damage caused by potholes.

In Michigan, you can file a claim with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), but the conditions are stringent and perhaps prohibitive. First, the damage must have occurred on a “state trunkline” (like freeways).  Second, you have to show MDOT “failed to maintain the actual roadbed of the highway in reasonable repair” and “that MDOT knew of the condition and had an opportunity to repair it, or that the condition existed for more than 30 days.”

If your claim is eligible, MDOT will pay up to $1,000 of the repair costs that were not covered by your insurance company.  For claims above $1,000, get yourself an attorney because you’ll have to file an actual lawsuit.  (Click here to read how to file a claim.)

Adversity does build character, by the way.  Large-scale studies of adversity and resilience find that people who experience occasional adversity are much more resilient and able to bounce back, compared to those who experience a lot of adversity or those who have experienced little adversity.  Some adversity is good for you.

So, if you need a little more adversity to build your character, get in your car and take a good long drive.

Coming up this week—three more reasons why bad roads are good for us!

Talk with friends …

The OurValues project is designed to spark healthy, civil discussion on tough issues related to our values. We invite readers to share these columns to spark civil discussion. You’re free to print out this column or share it via email or on social media.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Series Navigation<< Why Bad Roads Are Good for Us, Part 1: A great cultural unifier?Why Bad Roads Are Good For Us, Part 3: More exercise, better health? >>