Workers across the nation are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work ridding roadways of a major menace: Potholes.
Potholes snarl traffic, rattle nerves and batter cars — and cause financial headaches, forcing drivers to reach for their wallets to repair the damage left in their wake. After a run-in with these cement craters, potholes can damage or even destroy your tires and wreck your ride’s suspension. According to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, about half of car owners have experienced pothole-related damage to their vehicles over the past five years.
Why am I seeing so many Potholes?
Potholes often appear during winter and spring, when cracks in pavement allow water to seep inside. When the water freezes, it expands the cracks in the pavement. Add continued freeze-thaw cycles, and regular traffic as cars and trucks drive over the pavement, and trucks plowing and treating roads, and over the course of a harsh winter you’ll have potholes to fix in the spring.
Taking on Potholes
From New York City to Seattle and many places in between, municipalities are patching potholes:
- New York City has been patching since December, filling nearly 150,000 potholes. Philadelphia has filled more than 12,000 potholes this year.
- Seattle’s “Pothole Rangers” roll through the city’s four quadrants with trucks outfitted with special boxes that keep the asphalt filling mix hot.
- The City of Cleveland has 12 to 16 mobile crews patching potholes to expedite repairs.
- New Jersey is prepping a $4 million “army” of 67 crews and special trucks dubbed “pothole killers” to tackle an estimated 300,000 holes that have cropped up over the rough winter.
- Dallas city officials said crews are working 12-hour days, using a temporary mix until the weather and roads are dry enough to permanently fill them.
Tips for Surviving Potholes
1. Slow down and stay alert. Potholes often fill with debris or water, making them look deceptively small
2. If impact is imminent, slow down as much as possible, and keep your wheels away from the jagged edges of the pothole.
3. Stay attuned to vibrations and note if the vehicle is “pulling” to one side.
4. Inspect your tires for damage: Low pressure and dents on the rim could mean trouble.
5. Report potholes to your local authorities.