And now for something everyone hates: potholes. They've been a particular problem in the Louisville Metro Area this winter, probably because of the extreme cold and ice.
Here's a little pothole education for you, courtesy of WiseGeek:
“Most roadways are built in layers, starting with compacted earth and gravel for drainage. Some older city streets may even have a subsurface of bricks. All of these layers are covered with asphalt, which is a gooey blend of bitumen, oil byproducts, curatives and aggregate gravel. In an ideal setting, this layer of asphalt repels rainfall and snow, forcing it into drains or the shoulder of the road.
Potholes form because asphalt road surfaces eventually crack under the heat of the day and the constant stresses of traffic. These cracks allow snow and rainwater to seep into the underlying dirt and gravel. During cold nights, the water freezes and expands, pushing out some of the dirt and gravel, leaving a hole when the water eventually melts. Drivers continue to drive over these unseen holes, putting even more stress on the thin asphalt layer covering them.”
So how to deal with a pothole? Report it! The Louisville Metro Government has a website with a hand-dandy link to do just that here. You can also contact MetroCall at (502)574-5000.
Of course Southern Indiana's a little trickier: to report potholes in Jeffersonville, IN call (812) 285-6455. For potholes in New Albany, IN call 812-948-6455. For potholes in Clarksville (812) 283-8233.
Here's some tips for driving on a pothole-riddled road, courtesy of Triple A:
· Maintain proper air pressure in all tires to provide the proper cushion between the pothole and the rim of the tire. Don’t over-inflate your tires as this makes the tire too stiff and can make suspension damage from a pothole impact more likely.
· Check your owner's manual or look at the placard on the driver’s door jam, inside the glove box door, or on the fuel filler door for the correct tire inflation pressure (don’t use the rating on the side of the tire as this is the maximum inflation pressure, not the manufacturer’s recommended pressure).
· Watch for potholes by leaving plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to determine if it is safe to change lanes.
· Maintain a safe speed for the weather conditions. If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down, if possible, and avoid braking directly over a pothole since that will shift weight forward and place additional loading on the front suspension and tires, increasing the potential for damage.
· Hitting a pothole at high-speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, and suspension components. High speed also increases the chance of losing control of your vehicle, especially if a series of potholes occurs on a curve or badly-weathered roadway. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to help maintain control.
· Beware of, and avoid standing water that may conceal a deep pothole.