Pittsburgh Auto Spa

Seasonal dangers: Avoiding the perils of potholes

It’s been a tough winter for much of the country. Record snowfall in some areas and tight municipal budgets have made it tough for many of our communities to keep our highways and byways passable.

Unfortunately, the relentless cold weather has resulted in potholes, which have been popping up in what might seem like record numbers. These randomly appearing asphalt craters make driving even more hazardous than usual. The dangers go double for motorists with low-profile tires, which are increasingly common standard equipment even on family sedans and economy models. Short side-walled tires often provide better handling and steering response than more conventional tires, but the compromise is less cushioning from the evils beneath.

So, what to do? For openers, make sure your tires are properly inflated, whether your car has low-profile tires or not. An improperly inflated tire is more likely to be damaged hitting a pothole, potentially bending an expensive wheel.

It is, of course, a good idea to try and avoid hitting potholes, or slow down if must go over one, but only within reason. Don’t swerve into oncoming traffic or onto the shoulder where you might endanger pedestrians or bicyclists. And don’t ever make a big cut at the steering wheel to avoid a pothole; you might end up losing control of the car. A flat tire is always a better option than a serious crash.

The best course of action is to pay attention, and be especially ready for trouble this time of year. Leave more room behind the car in front of you so you have time to react. And be especially vigilant when you’re driving along a seam in the road, like those often found between lanes–those tend to develop holes sooner than the lane center.