Spring Driving Tips - Potholes
Four Tips for Avoiding Potholes
- Give yourself plenty of room between your car and the one in front of you so you can see one coming before you land in it.
- Be watchful in areas where there are puddles of water or slush, since potholes can be lurking underneath.
- If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down, but don’t brake directly over it – that can actually cause more damage.
- Try not to swerve – hitting a pothole at an odd angle can result in more damage to the tire, wheel rim and alignment. (Not to mention the risk to other vehicles, parked cars and pedestrians!)
“The worst damage occurs when you hit a large pothole at road speed because you simply didn’t see it-usually during a heavy rain where the deepest ones fill with water,” says Tony Molla of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). “The damage can be extensive and could involve things like bent wheels that cause a blowout or flat tire, or damaged suspension components. This is usually the thing that knocks an alignment out of whack as well.”
Hit a Pothole Hard? Follow this Four-Point Checklist:
- Pull over to the side as quickly and as safely as you can.
- Make sure you are well clear of other traffic before exiting your vehicle.
- Do a quick walk-around inspection to check for damage. Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim could mean your car isn’t safe to drive.
- If your car looks okay, pay attention to these “red alerts” that are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged:
a. Loss of control
b. Swaying when making routine turns
c. Bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads.
Not sure how bad the damage is? Visit your dealer or ask an ASE certified tech for an evaluation.
If you’re not sure how bad the damage is, bring your vehicle to your dealer or ask an ASE certified tech for evaluation. Contact your insurance agent to determine if you should file a claim, and check with your city—some municipalities offer reimbursement for pothole-related damage.
And in the spirit of good neighborly-ness, call your city to report the pothole(s)!