Potholes, ice melt and car wash lines come with big thaw

According to Triple A, potholes cost U.S. drivers $3 billion every year.

pothole generic

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The mostly mild winter in Northeast Ohio isn’t doing much to keep the pothole problem at bay. In fact, the recent freezing temperatures and the warm-up p coming this weekend could create more potholes.

According to Triple A, potholes cost U.S. drivers $3 billion every year. A survey by the automobile club also reveals that middle and lower income individuals are the most worried about potholes because repairs can be costly.

Crews were already out Friday in Mahoning County repairing roads. Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said the mild weather heading into the weekend is giving them a head start on the work.

AAA recommends these safety tips to protect you and your vehicle:

  • Inspect Tires – The tire is the most important cushion between a car and a pothole. Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. When checking tire pressures, ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb
  • Inspect Suspension – Make certain struts and shock absorbers are in good condition. Changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven tire wear can indicate bad shocks or struts. Have the suspension inspected by a certified technician if you are unsure
  • Look Ahead – Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this will not cause a collision or endanger nearby pedestrians or cyclists
  • Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components
  • Beware of Puddles – A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes
  • Check Alignment – Hitting a pothole can knock a car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls to the left of right, have the wheel alignment checked out
  • Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A hard pothole impact can dislocate wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.

Potholes wont’ be the only problem as the snow melts. Parts of the Valley will be faced with flooding concerns and the windy weather could loosen icicles that are hanging precariously from roofs.

It’s important to beware of surroundings and keep an eye on melting icicles.

Photos: Icicles around the Valley

Removing icicles from a roof should be done by lightly tapping them to avoid damaging roof shingles.

Car washes will feel the benefits of the big thaw this weekend. Jen McDonagh, owner of J&M Brushless Car Wash in Boardman, says she expects more than 500 customers on Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. We have cars lined up Route 224. We do our best to keep the cars off 224 for the safety of traffic. I have a guy in the parking lot who will try to keep the cars double and tripled lined,” McDonagh said.

When temperatures fall to the low teens, the car wash sometimes closes to avoid damaging vehicles.

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