What You Should Do When Hitting A Pothole
Spring is here, the snow has cleared and the “hit the open road and drive” season is underway; but not without the dreaded potholes left by winter’s wrath. Potholes are those pesky craters in the road that we often don’t notice until it is too late and we have already hit one. You know, that BOOM that has us suddenly white knuckling the steering wheel while we mutter profanities under our breath!
We have all hit them; front wheels, rear wheels, undercarriages, they sometimes seem unavoidable and they can cause severe vehicular damage, not to mention costly! In fact, the New York Daily News reports that New York drivers are spending roughly $2,300 a year from pothole damages! And according to this article, Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA New York, said there has been a notable increase in calls for help from motorists on Long Island!
According to this article, potholes usually form during the colder months when groundwater gets trapped underneath the pavement. It’s common knowledge that water expands when it begins to freeze. When it gets trapped and begins to expand, it eventually weakens pavement causing it to bend and crack. When the weather gets warmer like the beginning of Spring, the ice melts, the pavement contracts causing spaces in the surface where the water pooled. Once the pavement, which is mainly made up of asphalt, is weakened it cannot handle the weight of trucks, cars and other vehicles driving over them and continually stressing these weak areas. The pressure applied by traffic breaks down the road materials causing the divots we have come to know as potholes. They not only range in size and diameter but can vary in depth.
Avoiding Potholes Can Help Your Avoid Flat Tires
Potholes can be the main culprit of tire and wheel rim damage to your car, according to Firestone, an auto repair company. It is important to be able to identify potential damage to your car, especially your wheels and tires; they absorb the most impact from hitting a pothole. Check your wheels for bent rims, flat tires, slow leak or a bulging sidewall and determine if you are in need of emergency tire repair.
Potholes also can contribute to the premature wear on shocks and struts, misalign steering system, and damage the exhaust system. If you feel like your car is “bottoming out” as you drive, you may have encountered some damage to the shocks and struts or the exhaust system. If you feel your car is breaking down, pull over to the side of a road and call for a tow truck to bring you to your favorite mechanic.
Other Ways To Avoid Getting Flat Tires on Long Island
Springtime is not only pothole season on Long Island but also a time when construction starts back up again. While this can cause traffic and impact your commute, it can also lead to flat tires. If you know there will be construction in your area, try an alternate route to decrease the risk of running over any debris like tacks, nails, other metals, masonry, and rocks. These can also cause you to get a flat tire. Also, highway construction and other road debris can damage the exhaust system. If your front tires kick up dirt, dust or rocks, they can potentially hit the exhaust and easily crack the parts.
As we mentioned in our Spring Maintenance blog, make sure that your tires have the correct amount of air in them. During the winter, air pressure decreases and having properly inflated tires will help reduce the amount of damage potholes and construction site debris will have on your tire!
How To Help Your Fellow Long Islanders
Report Potholes: If you see a pothole, report it. Long Islanders can report potholes by calling 1-800-POT-HOLE (800-768-4653) to notify the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) about potholes on New York State-owned highways.
Drive cautiously: According to this blog from All State Driving insurance, the best way to avoid a pothole is to make sure that you can get all four wheels around it and slowly drive over it. Driving slowly and keep a safe distance from cars in front of you will allow you time to stop if you are approaching a pothole that you can’t glide over. In the event you need to swerve to avoid hitting a large pothole, driving slowing and cautiously will prevent any additional accidents.
Sometimes potholes are unavoidable and accidents do happen. If you are in need of roadside assistance such as emergency tire replacement, or if you need a tow anywhere on Long Island, call Elite Towing & Transport Inc. at (631) 737-8439 or fill out the contact form.