Winter driving: Got a penny? Check your tread

Potholes are beginning to pop up across the Valley, and they can be a costly problem for drivers

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Potholes are beginning to pop up across the Valley, and they can be a costly problem for drivers.

Potholes are caused when moisture seeps into the pavement and then expands when it freezes, causing the asphalt to crack.

The problem can be costly. Potholes can destroy tires, damage rims and throw off vehicle alignment. Automobile club AAA says pothole damage cost drivers in the United States $3 billion every year.

If you come across a pothole in the road and can’t avoid it, the best thing to do is slow down.

Anthony Belica says his Midas shop in Boardman is already busy with winter weather-related issues.

“You want to make sure your tires have plenty of tread and the proper amount of air in them to give you the proper traction and keep you safe,” said Anthony Belica, Midas store manager.

Tires are the only cushion between a pothole and the vehicle, so having them properly inflated can make a big difference. Belica says under-inflated tires don’t perform well in snow and icy conditions, and cold temperatures will cause tire pressure to drop about 1 psi for every 10-degree drop in air temperature.

Belica says you can have a professional check your tires and there are wear bars on them that you can check yourself. A trick to check tire wear is to take a penny and put Lincoln’s head upside down into the tire tread. If you can see off of his head then it’s time to replace your tires. It may cost you up front, but it could prevent an accident while out on the road.