Beware scourge of area potholes

They appear before the flowers bloom.

They are fed by road salt in the winter and begin to appear after the short warm spells that tease the arrival of spring.

They are potholes, that annual curse on motorists and municipalities.

The onset of potholes is something that is not to be taken lightly. They happen every year, and every year they become an increasing problem as motorists play dodge-the-hole in an effort to prevent damage to their vehicles.

It can be a dangerous situation as drivers try to avoid potholes, sometimes swerving into the paths of oncoming vehicles or possibly losing control after hitting a pothole.

Drivers in the Steubenville and Weirton areas already have started to see some of the worst potholes of the season. Some streets and roads seem to have disappeared in a conglomeration of craters that jar and jolt cars and trucks, causing extensive damage.

The jobs of many city and county street and road crews, who have been busy for the past several weeks trying to deal with ice and snow removal, will become compounded as they attempt to repair the pock-marked streets and roads. It’s a vicious winter-spring cycle for crews. What makes the condition of some local roads even more frustrating is that the material that is needed to remove the ravages of winter storms — think salt — also is the stuff that can turn roads to crater fields.

It’s likely area drivers will see brief delays in their daily travels as crews take advantage of the warmer weather to fill some of the worst potholes.

We hope motorists will remember workers will be doing their jobs in close proximity to moving vehicles and slow down in the work area.

Until the weather gets warm enough for major paving projects, we urge motorists to use caution and be alert to the dangers of potholes.