The city of Pittsburgh isn’t known for its perfect infrastructure. That’s because the problems with the city’s roads, power grids, and structures border on terrifying. Many of the systems and roads in place are extremely old, dating as far back as the early 20th century. This city of bridges, with 446 total within city limits, has at least 20 of those bridges labeled as “structurally deficient. One of the most iconic bridges, The Liberty Bridge, which carries an estimated 54,000 vehicles each day, is in a frequent state of disrepair. For drivers coming in and out of the city through the Liberty Tunnel, this means delays and congestion are almost guaranteed.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for Pittsburgh infrastructure. To be a rideshare driver in this city, you need to be able to maneuver through the best and the worst of roads. To help you overcome some of the anxieties of driving on Pittsburgh roads, here are some thoughts and suggestions:
Avoid Potholes Like a Pro
Potholes are everywhere and in every city. Although they’re not specific to Pittsburgh, they’re especially dangerous here. This has become such a problem over time that the current mayor Bill Peduto began implementing pothole blitzes to organize damage control. As a rideshare driver, you want to minimize any potential damage to your vehicle by properly navigating through potholes. Not only does this reduce costs, but it also helps maintain a smooth, comfortable ride for passengers (and higher ratings for you).
If you cannot avoid the heavily pothole-ridden roads, AAA suggests the following to best drive through them:
- Pay attention to how traffic behaves in front of you. If cars are slowing down, moving quickly, or switching lanes, then there’s a chance that something is hazardous ahead on the road.
- Be careful when there’s snow, ice or water on the ground. They could be hiding a giant pothole.
- Don’t swerve! Approach the road damage calmly and make as few sudden movements as possible.
- Take it nice and slow to avoid sharp impact.
- Roll through the potholes with as little forward momentum as possible.
- Maintain optimal tire pressure.
The city doesn’t automatically know when there’s a pothole on the street. If you see road damage on a street that you frequently drive on for rideshare (or otherwise), report it. Call the City Public Works Department if the damage is local to Pittsburgh. Report potholes on major highways or state routes to PennDOT.
Deal with Cyclists (even the bad ones) the Right Way
It’s true that many folks who ride their bikes in Pittsburgh follow the law (as it should be). Just the same, there are a dangerous few who ride around with complete disregard for road safety. They ride through stop lights, weave in and out of traffic, and pass vehicles without a passing lane. As a rideshare driver, this behavior from cyclists can be either frustrating to deal with or potentially harmful to everyone’s safety.
The city of Pittsburgh is not yet equipped with proper bicycle infrastructure. Even when you’re dealing with competent and law-abiding cyclists, it’s important to understand the rules to be as safe as possible. When on the road with folks on bicycles:
- Don’t try to beat a forward-moving cyclist to a turn, especially if it means you’re cutting them off or changing lanes
- When passing a bicycle, leave at least 4 feet of clearance and reduce your driving speed
- It is okay (and legal) to drive on or past the center double yellow lines when passing a bicycle in order to give the required 4 feet of clearance. Just be mindful of the vehicles that are coming toward you and act safely
Make Sense of Traffic Conditions
Be mindful of the weather conditions throughout the city. As you likely already know, excess snow and freezing temperatures could cause the roads to become increasingly dangerous. Rain downpours could cause flooding and slippery roads. These weather-induced conditions can increase the risk of accidents among all vehicles on the road. Replace your tires regularly to decrease the risk of hydroplaning or sliding on black ice. Use snow tires if necessary when the roads are snowy or unplowed.
It’s important to drive carefully and be fully aware what the roads are like. Use local weather and news outlets during poor weather conditions to plan ahead as best you can for your day’s drives. It’ll prepare you to avoid as much headache as possible with accident traffic and congestion.
You can also use Gridwise as a centralized location for road alerts. Using Gridwise-generated reports, rideshare drivers can learn about road conditions while on the go. That way, you can eliminate the risk of being blindsided while you’re on the job.
Have any other suggestions for driving on Pittsburgh roads? Let us know in the comments section