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Jana Tidwell
Public Relations Manager, PA
O: (302) 299-4426
C: (302) 353-6563

Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312

AAA Mid-Atlantic: Puddles vs. Potholes


Drivers Beware: Is that a puddle or a pothole?


PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 12, 2018) While tire-hungry potholes are typically a sign of spring, this winter’s extreme cold weather followed by record warmth has taken an early toll on Pennsylvania roadways - and drivers are paying a steep price. After this weekend’s heavy rain, drivers may be playing a guessing game behind the wheel as potholes are disguised as puddles. Very. Expensive. Puddles.


“Potholes don’t just leave you shaken – they’re a serious safety hazard and often lead to costly repair bills,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “You can easily lose control of your vehicle if you hit a pothole, possibly leading to a crash, and it’s just a dangerous to swerve to avoid it.  Slow down and stay alert, especially as road crews continue to work to patch potholes throughout the region.”


Potholes form when moisture collects in small holes and cracks in the road surface. The moisture expands and contracts when temperatures go up and down.  This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole.  This winter’s extreme temperature swings could make this year’s “pothole season” one for the record books.


AAA Mid-Atlantic Roadside Assistance Stats – Philadelphia 5-County Region – Flat Tires


January 2018

  • AAA roadside assistance flat tire calls up 30% over January 2017

  • AAA roadside assistance responded to 8,956 flat tire calls in January 2018 (compared to 6,904 flat tire calls in January 2017)


February 2018 (Feb. 1-11)

  • AAA roadside assistance flat tire calls up 45% month-to-date over the same period in February 2017

  • Twenty-one percent of all calls to AAA roadside assistance from Feb. 1–11 were for tires.

  • AAA roadside assistance has responded to 3,187 flat tire calls February 2018 month-to-date (compared to 2,196 calls during the same in period in February 2017).

  • This past weekend (Feb. 10-11) 27% of member calls to AAA roadside assistance were for flat tires.


To minimize vehicle damage from potholes, AAA offers the following tips:


  • Inspect Tires – Make sure tires are properly inflated and have a healthy tread.

  • Look ahead – Make a point of scanning the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver is more likely to have time to avoid a pothole so limit distractions.

  • Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely without abrupt braking.

  • Beware of Puddles – puddles often disguise deep potholes.

  • Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage the tire or wheel and even break suspension components. Any unusual noises after a pothole hit should be inspected immediately.

  • Where’s the Spare – New car owners beware, a quick fix for a blown out tire may be no more, as many newer cars do not have spare tires.

  • Big Hole, Big Hit – Hitting a large pothole usually results in, not only replacing a tire, but also the need for wheel alignment and possible steering linkage damage, causing a bit hit to motorists’ wallets.


Motorists in Philadelphia can report potholes by calling 311 or 215-686-5560, or online.  Outside of Philadelphia, motorists can call PennDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623), or report a problem to PennDOT online to their Customer Care Center.


Motorists seeking a trustworthy repair shop to help maintain their vehicle for winter and spring driving are encouraged to visit one of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s owned and operated AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers or one of AAA’s more than 8,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities.


Follow us on Twitter: @AAAPhillyNews

Mailing Address:
7777 Brewster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19159

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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