CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One of auto repairman Doug Hanshew’s customers recently was pulled over on suspicions of drunken driving, despite being totally sober at the time.
The real reason for her erratic driving: She was swerving to miss potholes.
“She said ‘Sir, I’m just dodging the potholes. I wish I was drinking, but I’m just trying to miss the potholes,'” said Hanshew, who owns Almost Heaven Auto Repair at 12 Commercial Drive in Charleston.
He is keenly aware of the damage potholes are doing to cars. He has seen an uptick in the number of pothole-related repairs this year.
“I’ve probably replaced four rims this year from being bent and I just had a customer in here the other day who blew a tire out from a pothole,” he said.
Highway crews are struggling to keep up with the effects of an unusually cold, snowy winter. When they aren’t salting or plowing roads, they’re patching potholes, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Bly said.
The problem is, the holes are appearing as quickly as they are being fixed.
“There’s no denying it’s worse this year,” she said. “Some main engineers say it’s the worst they’ve seen in several years, and that’s mainly because of the winter weather we’ve had…”