Pothole Perplexities

Mark DeLap
Posted 2/1/23

It’s that time of year.

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Pothole Perplexities


It’s that time of year. 

Birds have officially begun choir rehearsal at dark-thirty in the morning, the sun has graced us with more light at the end of the workday, the weather is actually warming up and the bike traffic has ramped up.

And, as the snow, ice and puddles have abated, we are left only with winter memories. And potholes.

They are a nuisance and can even cause damage to your vehicle. They are a natural occurrence in the spring, and they will always spring up in parking lots and roadways. 

They can vary in size from small holes to “hey was that a Volkswagen in that hole?” These potholes are formed when the groundwater expands and contracts underneath the pavement, causing the pavement to expand and crack.

Over the period of a winter, there is a constant movement as ice forms and melts. Add to that the weight of vehicles driving over the cracked and weakened surface which wears away the actual pavement. When salt is used on the roadways, it accentuates and accelerates the problem by creating a freeze-thaw cycle. 

In some towns, there are actually “pothole websites” where you can snap a picture and post it to the city website with an address of where the pothole is located.

Here are some hints we can use here in Platte County to get through pothole season:

• Drive carefully and watch for potholes ahead. If one is seen, slow your car and steer away from the pothole. The most annoying thing is for a car to all of a sudden veer and though they miss the hole, the person traveling behind doesn’t.

• Following at a safe distance so that you will have enough time to follow the car ahead of you into the veer.

• Most potholes are on the outer edges of the road as that is where the water ponds. If there are two lanes, always try to stay in the inner lane.

• Don’t veer into oncoming traffic to avoid a pothole. Sometimes you just simply can’t avoid them, and a wheel fix or rim replacement is cheaper than totaling your vehicle and the vehicle you hit, not to mention the hospital bills if the crash is serious.

• Remember to note the bad stretches of road and proceed with caution along those routes.

• Parking lots are also subject to potholes, so when you see a puddle or a pool of standing water on the lot, proceed with caution and try to avoid it if at all possible.

• If a pothole is unavoidable, a good rule of thumb is to drive as if you are coming down from a curb. Slow and easy in and then slow and easy back out.

• If you see something, say something does not only apply to terrorists, but also to potholes. The city does its best each year to identify the holes and to get them patched. If there is one that you have been “terrorized” by, snap a picture, add an address and take it to the city.

• Finally, the pothole detectives are out and estimating the damage and what it is going to take to fix the problem. If you see the utility trucks out or workers who are adding hot or cold patch, slow down, show them some courtesy and proceed with caution.

Remember the obvious and the things you can be certain of. Death, taxes and potholes.