Traffic guru Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic (appropriately), fills in the blanks on the fake potholes. They are part of a marketing campaign for car suspension systems (which a Nudge blog reader noticed too).
In reality, they were used as part of an advertisement for Pioneer Suspension, a vehicle suspension supplier. The ad was intended to suggest to drivers that, with Pioneer Suspension fitted to their vehicles, they would enjoy a smooth ride even on rough roads. Information about the ad published on the Ads of The World website…According to Ads of the World, the ad was created by Advertising Agency, Y&R Everest, Mumbai, India in 2007. It is unclear under what conditions or circumstances the advertising tactic was carried out. As many commentators have noted, unless the tactic was used in very controlled conditions, such fake potholes could actually be quite dangerous. Approaching drivers could swerve suddenly to avoid the “pothole” and serious accidents could result.
More at How We Drive.