Springtime is always welcome. After a long, exhausting winter, when the sun arches higher in the sky, birds are happily chirping and the first flowers emerge, it’s a time of celebration. Striking a pothole will bring you back to reality, and quick! While it might be impossible to avoid all potholes every single time you’re out and about, it’s good to have a plan just in case you aren’t able to spot them ahead of time and avoid them. After all, the damage they can wreak on your vehicle can run into thousands of dollars in repairs. Now, more than ever it’s important to have the best and cheapest car insurance in case of an accident.
How to Avoid Potholes
Remember to leave space between you and the car in front of you. This is good general driving advice and something that everyone should automatically do regardless of the time of year or potential for potholes. When you leave at least 3 seconds between you and another car, you’re allowing yourself time to spot a pothole and time to react to it. The more space you put between you and the lead car, the more time you will have to respond to a pothole safely.
Slow down. If you can clearly see that a road is riddled with potholes, slow down and give yourself extra time. You won’t be able to avoid them all, but going over them slowly will put much less strain on your vehicle, and likely create much less damage.
Don’t drive over puddles. We may have loved to jump in them as children, but to a car, puddles can be lethal. They can be deeper than you realize and can create issues by causing the front end of your car to be misaligned. People have gotten stuck in deep potholes that were hidden by puddles, and cars have been greatly damaged.
Properly inflate tires. Winter’s cold drains the air from tires, usually creating an underinflated situation that has to be managed continuously. When warm weather arrives, it is the opposite situation. Warm air can overinflate tires, so continue being vigilant and watch for proper tire pressure. If the pressure isn’t right, you run the risk of increased damage if you drive over a pothole.
Keep a firm grip on the wheel. When you are driving through an area with many potholes or suspect one is imminent, keep a firm, steady grip on the steering wheel. You’ll want to avoid your vehicle turning sharply without your control.
An old road is full of potholes
Signs of Possible Pothole Damage
Nobody likes that jolt of fear after driving over a large pothole. Wondering what kind of damage was caused and how much money it will cost to fix it. Here are the signs to look for:
The steering wheel feels off-center. It’s possible that the alignment was affected after driving over a pothole, which will make the steering wheel feel weird and off-center. It might also mean that the pothole caused damage to a steering component.
A shaky steering wheel. If the steering wheel suddenly starts to shake or vibrate after hitting a pothole, it could mean there’s been damage done to the wheel balance or damage to a rim or tire.
The car is emitting strange noises. All cars make noises and most of them are just the car running normally. However, if after hitting a pothole you notice it’s emitting strange noises, it could mean that damage has been done to the vehicle’s exhaust system.
The car’s handling is off. Nobody knows how your car handles better than you do. After driving it every day you get a sense of what feels right and what feels wrong. If you’re feeling as though the handling is a bit off like it is bumpier or pulls to one side more than it used to, get it checked out.
The alignment is off. If your car is pulling to one side after it hits a pothole you could have done significant damage to the vehicle’s alignment. This is one of the most common issues after encountering a pothole.
Your car has a flat tire. This issue makes itself known immediately, and you’ll hear the cyclic thump of the tire as you drive. It’s important not to continue to drive on the flat tire, however. Driving on it can cause extensive damage to the wheel which can end up costing you more money than fixing the tire.
If you suspect that your vehicle has been damaged by a pothole, don’t waste time; take it to your mechanic to get it checked out. Issues that go unresolved can lead to more extensive – and more expensive – problems in the future.