WASHINGTON — Roads and highways throughout the area are riddled with potholes because of repeated road salting and plowing this winter.
Emergency roadside calls for flat tires are pouring into AAA and the agency expects to respond to more than 100,000 throughout the region.
“Literally we’ve seen tires come off of cars because of the impact of hitting a pothole,” says John Townsend, manager of Public and Government Affairs, AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Tire and wheel damage are the most common consequence of hitting a pothole, but dipping into a pothole at highway speed can cause more extensive damage.
“It will virtually destroy the front end, you’ll need a major realignment done and you’ll have suspension problems, too,” Townsend says.
Numerous potholes throughout the area can turn a drive into an obstacle course with drivers zigzagging to avoid the pitfall and the risk goes beyond vehicle damage. Potholes can threaten personal safety.
“Motorists will swerve to avoids potholes and then you have so many pedestrians who are out and about, now, because of the warmer temperatures, cyclists and school children, so it poses a risk to all of us,” Townsend warns.
There is a driving strategy for motorists when a pothole lies in the path.
“If you see a pothole slow down and then just gently roll over the pothole. But don’t hit your brakes while you’re in the pothole, because it will do more damage not only to your wheel but also to the braking mechanism, posing a real safety risk,” Townsend says.