I can’t decide if pothole season or pothole patching season is tougher on cars — and drivers.
After spending much of the winter learning to watch out for new gouges in the roadways or deeper versions of some that no one ever got around to patching last fall, I fell into a sort of weaving, dodging mode behind the wheel, memorizing the bad spots and almost unconsciously making tiny modifications to my driving to compensate for them.
Now the temporary-patch crews are at it all over the Capital Region, slathering the potholes with wads of asphalt that even when fully dried stick out above the road surface, creating whatever the opposite of a pothole is, but with the same effect: bone jarring bumps that do no good to tires, shock absorbers and motorists’ well-being.
This isn’t just a neighborhood gripe, mind you. Just a few months ago that statistics-worshipping newspaper USA Today reported that 26% of the nation’s major urban and suburban roads have substandard pavements that, in effect, impose a “hidden tax” on motorists by increasing costs to maintain their vehicles, according to a survey conducted by people who do that sort of thing. Conduct surveys, that is.
Nice to know, I suppose, although anyone who drives any amount does not need a team of surveyors to tell them the obvious. What we need to do is find an effective method, once and for all, to let our municipal governments know that safe roads are a prime concern.
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