Your Guide to Potholes: Driving Safety Tips
During my commute to work, I inevitably drive over more than 10 potholes each way. While a few of them are small, most of them are quite large and create for a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride to work.
Most potholes are caused when relentless freezing and thawing weakens the road and causes large cracks which eventually turn into potholes. Cities like Chicago or Minneapolis that have particularly harsh winters often tend to have more potholes.
So if you live in a city with lots of potholes, here are a few driving safety tips:
- Always maintain the proper air pressure in your tires
- Leave plenty of room in front of your vehicle so you can avoid potholes without getting into an accident
- If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down. But don’t break directly over a pothole which can actually cause more damage
- When driving over the pothole, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control
- Don’t drive over a puddle of water because it might be a particularly deep pothole in hiding
After a little research, I found out that potholes can cause serious damage to my car, even if they are small. While I always figured running over a large pothole would be bad for my tires, little did I know that some potholes can have as much impact on your car as a 35 mph car crash.
You usually don’t feel all the force, however, because your car’s suspension will absorb the impact. Experts estimate motorists collectively end up paying millions of dollars a year to repair their cars because of potholes.
In addition to causing structural damage to the tire itself, potholes may also cause your tires to blowout if they are underinflated. Potholes may also cause your tires to become unaligned which may lead to uneven wear. So if you’re like me, and have been running over potholes all summer, here are some indications that you should take your car into the shop to have it checked for damage:
- Reoccurring loss of air pressure
- Noticeable bends/dents in wheels
- Vibration in the wheel or in the seat
- Steering wheel is not aligned straight
TIP: If you encounter a pothole, you should report it to your state’s Department of Transportation. In some cases, your state or county may actually reimburse you for some of the repair costs.
Want to protect your car? Get an auto insurance quote now.