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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Road safety is important in any season, but it becomes a little more difficult in the winter. Columbus leaders discuss the dangers of potholes and what you can do to ride along a little more smoothly.

Potholes can ruin your tires, knock your car out of alignment or worse.  Columbus City Engineer Kevin Stafford says stopping potholes from forming is next to impossible.

“There’s really nothing you can do to prevent potholes besides patch them and patch them properly. But there are three things that are enemies of asphalt that create potholes. Time, water and temperature,” says Stafford.

Potholes form when, over time, cracks in asphalt become saturated with water. When that water freezes, it expands, and the cracks get bigger. As the ice melts, the asphalt erodes and you’re left with a hole. Citizens can call the Action Center hotline in Columbus when they see a pothole on city streets.

“The City cannot know where all the potholes are throughout the city. That kind of gives us the heads up where we can go ahead and repair it to prevent damage to vehicles,” says Patricia Mitchell, head of Human Resources for the City of Columbus.

City leaders say though they do all they can to repair roads immediately, they are not automatically held liable for vehicle damages or repairing the road.

“There are some streets that aren’t our responsibility, even though it’s in the city limits. I noticed on the weekend on 18th Avenue and all potholes, because they’re on 45 and other streets that are mandated, maintained by the state, they’re not the city’s responsibility,” says Mitchell.

Potholes are very difficult to see when they are filled with water. Motorists should slow down and use extra caution and safety during the rainy season.

If you’ve noticed a pothole in Columbus you’d like to report, call 662-329-5147.

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