Potholes are a common road hazard, and every driver has encountered them at some point or another. All drivers should know how to avoid them, navigate them and even drive over them if left with no choice. We’ll also discuss how to take care of your tires and vehicle when damage does occur.
How to Avoid Potholes
If you can, it’s best to avoid hitting a pothole. Here are some tips to do just that.
- Drive with caution
Keep a good distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This will allow you to see a pothole sooner so you can avoid it. Increasing this distance is also beneficial in case the driver in front of you unexpectedly swerves to avoid a pothole.
- Improve visibility
Use your windshield wipers if it’s raining, even in a fine mist. Make sure your headlights are in proper working order.
- Keep an eye out for puddles
Potholes can be hidden in deep puddles. Even a small puddle that looks innocent could be just a pothole filled with rain water.
- Avoid other cars
Don’t swerve into an occupied lane to avoid a pothole, as you could collide with someone in your blind spot.
How to Minimize Car Damage
Sometimes you have no choice but to hit a pothole, but there are steps you can take to minimize the damage to your car.
- Slow down and coast
If you see the pothole in time, slow down and then release the brake. Don’t apply the brakes while your tires are actually in the pothole because it can lead to more damage to your vehicle. Coasting will reduce the speed at the time of impact, allowing your suspension to travel full range for better impact absorption.
- Drive slowly
If you know the street you’re on is riddled with potholes, simply drive slowly so you can better maneuver around them. If you do hit one, going slowly will minimize the chance of damage.
- Grip the steering wheel firmly
You could lose control of your vehicle driving over a sudden pothole. Grip your steering wheel firmly so as to keep control.
- Hit the pothole squarely
Straighten your wheel so you don’t hit the pothole at an angle. Then roll through the hole.
- Maintain your suspension
Make sure you stay on top of regular suspension checks and service by your mechanic. Good shocks, struts and springs will cushion future impacts.
- Maintain proper tire inflation
Over-inflated and under-inflated tires can worsen damage when you hit a pothole. In addition, tires with excessive wear and tear or sidewall bulges can pop more easily when going over a pothole.
Check For Damage
Wheel and tire damage can result from hitting potholes. After you hit a pothole, pull your car over when safe to do so and inspect your tires for damage. You may not see any visible damage now, but later, take note if your car now pulls one way or the other. This could signal the need for steering realignment. And if your car bottoms out, your suspension system may need to be looked at.