Unfortunately, the spring thaw brings more than just flowers. Warmer weather also means that potholes are in full bloom. But drivers don’t have to get that sinking feeling. There are some things you can do to lessen the impact of these hidden holes.
Before you can plot against potholes, you should understand what you’re up against. A pothole forms in several steps. First, rain, sleet or snow works into the soil under the pavement. When the temperature drops, this water freezes and expands, pushing up the soil and pavement. As thawing occurs, the water runs off and the soil recedes, creating a hole under the pavement. When a vehicle drives over the vulnerable piece of pavement, the surface breaks and creates the menacing pothole. The weaker the pavement is to begin with, the more likely it is that potholes will form.
Driving over a hidden or unknown pothole can cause damage to vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Components that are vulnerable to damage from potholes include vehicle alignment, suspension, shock absorbers and tires. Wheel rims/tires, hubcaps and mufflers can also be affected.
To help avoid pavement pitfalls, try these tips:
· Drive more slowly, especially on well-worn roads.
· Be extra cautious when there’s water on the road—a hole may be lurking beneath it.
· Try to avoid seams near the edge and centre of the road, as these are locations where potholes usually develop.
· Don’t slam on the brakes when driving over a hole, as this could compound the damage to your vehicle or cause an accident.
· Make sure headlights are clean—potholes and dips are difficult to see at night.
· Keep tires at proper inflation levels. Improperly inflated tires may burst when they run over a deep pothole.
· Don’t swerve if you hit a hole. And be aware of the “pothole dance,” when bikes or vehicles suddenly weave into your lane to avoid a pavement dip.
· If you suspect a pothole has damaged your car, get your tires, wheels and suspension inspected by a qualified technician.
These tips are brought to you by:
We've all lost a hub cap or two in these awful potholes, but I'd love to hear your stories about your own encounters with these Spring “speed bumps”.