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Spring Is Here and So Are Potholes

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Each spring, as daffodils and jonquils begin to appear, so do potholes. The winter saw heavy rains and record snowfall sweep across the country, leaving an unprecedented number of potholes in its wake. Potholes begin to form when moisture seeps down into cracks in the road. Winter's cold temperatures cause the moisture to expand and contract, creating fissures that widen and deepen until a full-fledged pothole is formed.

Potholes that are shallow typically do not cause much harm if you hit them, but a hole that is several inches deep or wider than your tire can cause significant and expensive damage. To prevent unexpected repairs, it is best to try to avoid hitting potholes altogether. Consider these tips to help you avoid these spring road hazards and the damage they can inflict:

  1. Keep a safe distance: Remain several car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. This distance allows you to focus on the road ahead more clearly and to avoid potential problems. If you do spot a pothole, be aware of the traffic surrounding you to avert a potential accident if you need to swerve to avoid it.
  2. Be aware of your location: The most vulnerable part of a road is its edge. Keep your vehicle in the center of your driving lane to avoid the road's outer edges and any potential dangers there.
  3. Avoid puddles: Potholes often lurk underneath puddles. If you see a puddle that you cannot avoid, drive through it very carefully.
  4. Reduce speed: Although many motorists believe they can avoid pothole damage by driving over them at great speed, that is rarely the case. If you cannot avoid a pothole, the best thing that you can do is to slow down. Although it seems counter-intuitive, take your foot off the brake before impact to limit damage. In addition, grip the wheel tightly with both hands to keep the car from lurching into another car or off the road.
  5. Maintain your vehicle properly: Inflating your tires to the manufacturer's recommended pressure can provide the proper protection you need between your vehicle and the surface of the road. Keeping your struts and shock absorbers in good condition and having your wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician can also help you avoid potential problems.

With the tips listed above, and a little luck, you may be able to avoid hitting some of those potholes in the road, saving yourself a trip to the repair shop, significant savings, and a lot of inconvenience. And as the weather gets warmer, it won't be too long before those potholes get patched.

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