Winter Driving 101 Surviving the Treacherous Roadways of Potholes and Puddles

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It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter, as George Harrison once sang. And to describe the atrocious 2014 season, those words probably aren’t strong enough. Polar vortexes, freak snowstorms and whiteout conditions have left most of the continental United States looking ahead to spring with wide eyes.

There’s only one thing standing in the way of pure spring bliss — potholes.

If you live and work in the Northeast, potholes have likely been making your commutes brutal since last November when the snow began to fall. In places like Georgia, Florida and even some parts of California, however, potholes pose a bigger problem because the local infrastructures aren’t equipped with the proper tools and maintenance crews to fix them in a timely fashion. It’s going to be a while before we’re back cruising our beloved highways again.

But what causes these vast, rough craters in our roads to begin with?

When you want someone to blame for the disastrous roads you’re forced to careen down to get to work, blame Mother Nature. Excessive rain, snow and other wetness can sink down the small cracks in the asphalt and soaked up by the rock, gravel and sand that support the road itself. Over time, more and more car tires run over these cracks, widening them and causing bits of the soil to erode entirely. Since there’s nothing left to support the asphalt, it collapses, leaving gaping holes where there should be portions of the road.

What does that mean for my car’s exterior and my tires?

In one word, trouble. The more bumps your car hits, the higher the risk of something coming loose inside your wheel, and when it’s potholes we’re dealing with, you have something else to worry about: rim repair. Cracked bits of your wheel’s rim and protrude into the tire itself, letting air escape and causing flats or — worse yet — highway blowouts. If you can, take alternate route to avoid hitting potholes. If that’s not possible, check your tires regularly and don’t be afraid to pop into an autobody repair shop for a solid rim refinishing come spring.

Are there any preventative measures I can take to prevent serious damage?

In New York City alone, workers have already patched up more than 130,000 potholes since the first of the year. So if all goes well, road crews in your city should be continuously working to improve the problem, though we know that’s not always the case. It’s important to keep your tires inspected regularly for damage as well as proper tire pressure. Your car’s suspension can also be negatively impacted, so be sure to keep an eye on that as well. For any wheel repair, rim repair or rim straightening needs, never hesitate to take your ride into a shop at the first sign of concern.

At the end of the long, harsh winter, it’s good to know that spring is right around the corner. In the meantime, watch out for puddles. They may be hiding scores of potholes, the sworn enemy of functioning, healthy automobiles. For more information on how to prevent lasting damage, finds a rim repair shop near you. Read this for more.

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