It seems like they are everywhere. You cringe as you drive over them, the insidious road wear that hits Michigan hard every spring – potholes. You can’t avoid them but facing them head on can be downright dangerous. This year, they seem bigger than ever, but there’s not much you can do except report them and navigate the roads with patience.
Michigan’s seasonal freeze-thaw cycles are to blame for the holey inconvenience; as snow and ice melt, moisture seeps into the pavement, freezing, expanding and thawing to create a gap in pavement. As cars drive over those gaps, pavement weakens, and the result is a pothole that leaves drivers with a flat tire or worse.
So, what more can you really do? The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) advises residents to use their Report a Pothole form, or call 888-296-4546 to report potholes on state roads. Your report will be forwarded to the appropriate office in the region so action can be taken. MDOT also advises that you slow down near pothole crews for everyone’s safety.
In the meantime, how do you navigate potholes? It is best to avoid hitting them whenever possible. If you can’t avoid hitting one, it is best to slow down, then release the brakes before you hit the pothole to reduce speed and give your vehicle’s suspension the full range of travel to avoid impact. Be extra vigilant around puddles – they could be potholes filled with water.
You should also make sure your tires are properly inflated and that keeping your shock, struts and springs in good shape can help to cushion the blow.
For more information, visit michigan.gov.