Why Does PA Have So Many Potholes And Why Should I Avoid Them?

Did you know that Pennsylvania roads were recently ranked the fifth worst in the nation?  Surprisingly, less than 4% of Interstate highways and the Pennsylvania Turnpike contribute to that low ranking.  Lower-traffic-volume roads (AKA country back roads) throughout the Keystone State are the real culprit of PA’s bad rap on road conditions.  Potholes – those pesky, hollow holes that make for a bumpy and unpleasant ride – are mainly to blame for this.  Unfortunately, potholes are a fact of life for Pennsylvanian drivers and are especially hard on their vehicles (and wallets).

So, what exactly is a pothole?

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) blame potholes on Pennsylvania’s vicious freeze/thaw cycle.  As many Pennsylvanians know, our winters are filled with days where the temperature fluctuates between freezing and mild on the regular.  This can wreak havoc on our roads.  Once precipitation starts to fall from the sky, the water seeps into the soil below the pavement surface.  As the temperature gets colder, that water freezes, the ground expands and the pavement raises up, forming a bump in the road.  When the temperature heats back up, the precipitation melts – resulting in a gap between the pavement and the ground below it.  When a vehicle drives over the bump – BOOM!  The pavement cracks due to the gap beneath it, resulting in a hollow cavity, called a pothole.

How To Avoid Potholes & Minimize the Damage

Winter is upon us; the temperatures are dropping and potholes are starting to form.  It is important to be well-informed as to how to best avoid potholes in the first place.

  1. Keep a safe distance between vehicles.  In order to be sure to see any upcoming potholes and safely maneuver around them, it is important to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  2. Approach puddles with caution!  During the winter and spring months, potholes can often be lurking beneath puddles on roads.  Drive at a safe speed and avoid large puddles when possible.
  3. Avoid braking.  Even though it might be your first inclination when fast-approaching a pothole – it is important to avoid sudden braking!  Hard braking can actually cause more damage to your vehicle.

If you can’t completely avoid hitting a pothole, follow these steps to minimize the damage:

  1. Slow Down!  Firmly grip your steering wheel to prevent losing control of your vehicle and lower your speed.
  2. Ensure your tires are adequately inflated.  Using your manufacturer’s recommendations (usually printed on the inside of your driver’s side door), be sure your tires are filled with enough air to adequately resist the impact of the pothole.
  3. Car’s Suspension in Good Condition?  It is important that your car’s suspension is in check to ensure that it can help absorb the shock of hitting a pothole.

How Can CNM Auto Repair Help?

As hard as you try to avoid those pesky potholes, you are bound to go over at least a few of them this season.  If you find your vehicle has bulging tires, bent rims, dents, leaks or rusting – you may be searching for a reliable and quality tire shop in your area.  Let CNM Auto Repair in Lancaster, PA service your vehicle and tires this winter.  Swaying or bouncing while driving is also a sign that there may be some shock absorption or suspension issues for us to look at as well.  Whether it’s tire repair, replacement tire sales or general car maintenance you need this winter, CNM Auto Repair is here to serve you.  Contact us today at (717) 397-1497 to set up an appointment.