This year, the situation on Slovakia's roads is bad. On the average, it is probably worse than a year ago.
On Feb. 28, SME newspaper wrote [sk] that in Košice county in Eastern Slovakia alone, there are over 37,000 square meters of potholes, even though the winter is still not over. Zoltán Bartos, the director of the local Road Administration, said that when they were not able to fix potholes [quickly], they had to mark them using warning road signs. Recently, drivers have been destroying these signs to avoid police fines for speeding, or to be able to get compensation for damaged cars from their insurance companies. That's why workers have already started taking pictures of the newly-installed warning signs.
Below are some of the comments from SME.sk's readers.
I wonder how much this pothole documenting costs.
and what if road workers buy one sign and then take a photo with it at 25 different places?
Repair the potholes well and permanently and this new phenomenon will disappear.
In Switzerland, where they have similar if not worse weather – heat, winter, water, snow – and you won't find a single patch on the road! I don't know how they do it, but there are no potholes!
I'm driving along the potholes, and suddenly – a road!
In another discussion [sk], users have calculated that in Slovakia €85,000 in car- and road-related fees and taxes are collected annually per each road kilometer.
Here is a dashboard camera video of a first-class road near Domaša in Eastern Slovakia:
Many other examples can be easily found by searching “výtlky 2013″ (“potholes 2013″) at images.google.sk.
Here is a joke popular with the Slovak netizens these days:
An Englishman asks a Slovak: “Which side of the road do you drive on here? Left or right?
The Slovak responds: “‘Round the holes, buddy!”
The image below comes from Diery.sk [sk], a crowdsourced map of potholes that initially covered only Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, but from the end of this week will display information provided by users in other parts of the country:
A pothole documentation project [sk] launched by Nový čas [New Time] newspaper, has recycled this viral phrase for its title:
Adopt a pothole and watch it grow…
A recently established RSS Daily, a mock news outlet inspired by one of Slovak President's gaffes (more about it in this GV text), quotes [sk] a non-existing deputy of the Union of Slovak Car Services who thinks that pothole repairs carried out in some cities are irresponsible and discourage drivers from making timely overhauls of their cars:
Often just a torn-off wheel reveals a much more serious fault with the car.
But just as life is often stranger than fiction, so is real-life news compared to fake news. Last year, musician Milan Capák lost patience with the holes on the sidewalks of his city Rožňava in Eastern Slovakia and started repairing them on his own and at his own cost, later continuing with the potholes on the roads. German ARD TV did a story [video; de] about Capák's selfless initiative. Later, however, a city official sent him a letter [sk], requesting him to stop his work – because he was using the wrong technologies and was making repairs on the land that was not his property.