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County working on potholes in Fallbrook/Bonsall

The combination of cold temperatures and a touch of winter rain over the holidays have led to the emergence of new potholes on Fallbrook and Bonsall roadways.

Caused by water working its way into and under the asphalt and cracking it, potholes can easily damage a vehicle’s suspension components and increase the possibility of costly repairs, leaving drivers frustrated and annoyed.

“Water is the worst enemy of an asphalt road,” said Garry Evans, senior equipment operator with the County of San Diego County Roads Division, Bonsall station. “It creeps under the asphalt base, which stays damp because of no air access, creating a small hole. The weight of cars driving over the hole only makes it larger.”

While the County has workers putting in 40 hours a week repairing the winding roads in Fallbrook and Bonsall, and they are rapidly making use of 10 tons of material, Evans said the road workers cannot effectively locate all potholes without the help of citizens.

“There are 290 miles of road that we have to maintain and we can’t drive it all,” Evans explained. “Sometimes we’re aware of a pothole but we have to wait for the amount of moisture in the area to go down.”

County roads workers usually repair a pothole within 48 hours of it being reported.

In the meanwhile, the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) recommends the following tips to help protect vehicles and drivers against the jarring experience of hitting a pothole in their path.

• Maintain proper air pressure in all tires to provide as much cushion as possible between the pothole and the rim of the tire. Consult the vehicle owner’s manual or the sticker on the driver’s side doorjamb, inner glove box or inside the fuel filler flap for the correct pressure.

• Watch for potholes by leaving plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Alert drivers have plenty of time to avoid potholes. Before swerving around a pothole, be sure to check surrounding traffic to determine if it is safe to change lanes.

• Maintain a safe speed for the weather conditions. If a pothole cannot be avoided, slow down, if possible. Hitting a pothole at high speed increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels, shocks, struts, springs or suspension components. High speed also increases the chance of losing control of the vehicle, especially if a series of potholes occurs on a curved or uneven roadway.

• When driving over more than one pothole, reduce vehicle speed and hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control.

• If possible, don’t brake when directly over a pothole. Applying the brakes causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the vehicle and can increase damage from the impact.

• Beware of water that may be concealing a deep pothole. Hitting even one severe pothole could alter the alignment of a wheel from suspension damage, resulting in uneven tire wear.

“A broken shock or strut from hitting a pothole could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create dangers when driving at higher speeds or in tight corners,” said AAA spokesman Steve Mazor. “Broken or damaged suspension components should be remedied immediately.”

Motorists who suspect their vehicle may have been damaged by a pothole should take their vehicle to a quality repair facility where it can be carefully inspected and serviced, if necessary.

Maintaining your vehicle’s tires is also crucial to safe driving. It is recommended that drivers walk around their vehicle and check tires for uneven or excessive tread wear as well as proper inflation while they are at the gas station.

To report a pothole to County Roads Services, call the Bonsall Service Station at (760) 758-0171 or (858) 874-4040.

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