Potholes are one of the most stress-inducing circumstances among drivers. They slow you down, make your town look awful, and can cause a lot of damage to your car. Depending on your speed, you may not be able to avoid them because they come up so fast. Depending on the road surface, you may not be able to avoid them because they are so numerous, especially in a municipality that is short on funds for road surface repair. And, in some cases, they can cause major damage, accidents and costly repairs.
If you are fortunate enough to have the right car insurance coverage, you may be able to get the damage repaired. In most cases, that’s collision coverage, which offers coverage when your vehicle collides with an object.
What Causes Potholes?
Potholes form when water seeps into the pavement and causes cracks. Damaged roads are especially prevalent in areas with a cold climate, because the water freezes and then thaws, causing the pavement to weaken and crack when exposed to the weight of passing cars in traffic.
Winter and spring are the two times of the year when temperatures drop and rain increases, making it harder for city governments and municipalities to repair these dangerous road conditions on a daily basis. And if the way you travel is also heavily traveled by heavy-duty trucks, such as semis, chances are you’ll notice more problems. The weight of these trucks, especially when hauling a full load, hurts roads even further.
How to Avoid Potholes While Driving
Because these literal holes in the road can cause so many problems, Here are 5 measures you can take to avoid them while driving is crucial.
1. Keep a Safe Distance from the Person in Front
The 3-second following distance driving rule not only keeps you safe, but it also gives you extra space to be on the lookout for potholes on the road or highway. You can tell how close you are to others in front by taking note of a landmark (like a tree) and counting seconds from when the person in front passes it and when you pass it. You should be, at a minimum, three seconds distance behind for a safe distance. And if road surfaces are in bad condition, increase that distance.
2. Don’t Drive Too Fast
Give yourself more reaction time and keep your speed reasonable. You won’t always be able to see these craters before you hit them (especially at night in new places or with less visibility) but you can lessen your chances by slowing down. You may also do less harm and avoid costly damage if you hit one while driving more slowly.
3. Take care of your tires
Keep them properly inflated and try to maintain them at a suitable pressure level. Remember that underinflated tires or overly inflated tires are the most prone to pothole problems. Always check for low tire pressure before you drive, especially when it is pothole season. Consider a tire hazard protection plan for times when the road harms your tires.
4. Always dodge puddles
One of the best things you can do is avoid puddles. They can be deep even if they don’t look like it. Remember that water pools in potholes and can hide them, so use caution.
5. Maintain control of your vehicle
Jolting from hitting one of these surprise dips may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle and end up in different lanes. Chances are good this could lead to an accident or worse. This is another good reason to consider carrying collision coverage. Also, having a firm grip on your steering wheel is a defensive driving tactic.
As you drive along your merry way, be aware of possible road conditions and take the necessary steps to make sure you don’t get into an accident due to potholes.
What Vehicle Problems do Potholes Cause?
The worst part about potholes is they usually come as a surprise. If you hit one, especially at a high rate of speed, you need to understand the common signs of pothole damage. Here are some tips.
Your steering wheel can give you some hints about other vehicle parts that may have sustained injury. If you notice your steering wheel is shaking, you may have harmed a tire or a rim. If your steering wheel feels off-center, you may have an alignment issue.
The car pulling to one side may be a sign of a suspension issue. If you notice your car tilting to the side, this could indicate suspension problems. Your steering may also be affected.
Struts and Shocks
Although struts and shocks are part of the suspension system and chassis, they both play important roles. If there are issues with these parts, drivers may notice their vehicle leaning to one side during a turn or the front end raking a dive during braking.
If you hit a crevasse with enough impact, you may harm your bumper. This one is pretty obvious, since a ravaged bumper is typically sagging or even falling off.
If you are veering to the left or right or you notice fluids leaking from underneath, you may have an undercarriage issue. This section of your automobile or truck is underneath the main cabin and contains the chassis. Any jarring bumps could cause harm.
If you hear strange noises after hitting a pothole, you might need to check the exhaust system. And if your car doesn’t feel like it used to, if something feels “off” after you hit a particularly nasty pothole, it probably is. It could be anything, and you don’t need to pinpoint the issue exactly to have it checked out by a technician.
How Can You Report Potholes?
Your local city government or municipalities are responsible for maintaining and fixing the roads, so they should tend to your report and repair potholes. Take pictures of both the pothole itself and the damage caused to your car to document the instance and file a report at your local office or town hall.
Chances are good that it isn’t the first time people have walked into city hall to report road surface conditions.
Find an Affordable Auto Insurance Policy Online Today
Not sure if your car insurance policy covers pothole damage? At Freeway Insurance, we can help you find out and get the best coverage for your needs and budget. Get a free car insurance quote online, over the phone at (800) 777-5620 or at one of our offices near you.