Editorial

Avoiding the pitfalls of pothole season

Posted

In late winter and early spring, Nassau County roads become minefields of sorts, full of potholes that can severely damage vehicles, particularly their suspension and tires. At times potholes even cause accidents. The damage is often an expensive fix.

Potholes are formed when moisture collects in small cracks and holes in the road surface. As temperatures fluctuate, the moisture expands and contracts because of freezing and thawing, which breaks up the pavement.

The American Automobile Association recommends the following safety measures during pothole season:

• Inspect your tires to make sure they are properly inflated and have enough tread. An underinflated or badly worn tire is more likely to suffer damage if you hit a pothole.

• Inspect your suspension to make sure struts, shock absorbers and other parts are in good condition.

• Look ahead to make sure the road does not have potholes. When it does, they are easier to avoid if you spot them sooner.

• If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down. Reduce your speed safely, and check the rearview mirror before braking abruptly. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage. Braking directly over a pothole could also end up causing more damage.

• Beware of puddles, because they can disguise deep potholes.

• Check your alignment, because hitting a pothole can affect your steering.

• A vehicle’s parts can be dislodged on impact. Be aware of noises and vibrations.

To report a pothole in Nassau County, call the Department of Highways at (516) 571-6900.