Potholes in the Road | Safe Winter Driving

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Potholes, those annoying, car-jarring obstacles, are a common menace on many roads, especially after winter and early spring. They can cause damage to vehicles and pose a risk to safety if not navigated properly. Understanding how to deal with potholes is essential for any driver looking to keep their vehicle in good condition and their journeys safe. Here are some essential tips for driving on pothole-riddled roads.

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Stay Alert and Keep a Safe Distance

The first step in avoiding potholes is to see them in time to react safely. Keep your eyes on the road and constantly scan ahead for any irregularities. Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you gives you a better view of the road surface and more time to react.

Reduce Speed, But Avoid Sudden Braking

When you spot a pothole, it’s natural to want to brake hard. However, braking directly over a pothole can actually cause more damage to your vehicle. Instead, reduce your speed safely and as much as possible before reaching the pothole, then release the brake just before you drive over it. This helps to reduce the impact.

Hold the Steering Wheel Firmly

When driving over a pothole, hold the steering wheel firmly to maintain control. Potholes can cause your vehicle to suddenly jolt or veer, so a firm grip is necessary to keep your vehicle steady.

Avoid Potholes, But Safely

If you can safely maneuver around a pothole, do so. However, always check your surroundings and use your indicators before changing lanes or direction. Never swerve suddenly or veer into oncoming traffic to avoid a pothole.

Check Tire Pressure Regularly

Properly inflated tires can help reduce the damage from hitting a pothole. Check your tire pressure regularly, as tires with the correct pressure provide the best cushion and defense against potholes.

Inspect Your Vehicle Regularly

Potholes can cause significant damage to your vehicle’s suspension and alignment. If you frequently travel on roads with potholes, it’s wise to have your car inspected regularly by a professional.

Use Caution in Wet Weather

Potholes can be harder to spot when they are filled with water. Treat any puddle with caution, as it could be hiding a deep pothole.

Know Your Route

If possible, choose routes that are less likely to have potholes. If you regularly encounter potholes on your daily route, consider finding an alternative path even if it takes a bit longer.

Report Severe Potholes

If you come across a pothole that poses a significant risk, consider reporting it to your local road maintenance authority. This could not only help you but also benefit other drivers.

Stay Calm and Collected

If you hit a pothole, don’t panic. Continue to drive with care and check for any immediate signs of damage to your vehicle. If you suspect damage, have your vehicle checked by a professional as soon as possible.  Also check your city or locality if they will reimburse for damages to your car. Most major cities like San Diego and Los Angeles will reimburse driviers for damamges incurred by potholes on city streets.

Potholes in the Road

Potholes are an unfortunate reality of driving, but by being vigilant and using these tips, you can minimize their impact. Safe driving involves being prepared for all kinds of road conditions, and knowing how to handle potholes is an essential skill for any driver. Stay safe and keep those tires rolling smoothly!

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