This guest post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.
As if the unusually cold temperatures shooting across the U.S. this winter weren’t enough hassle, pothole-covered roads and highways have been turning our daily drives into an obstacle course.
The treacherous craters are caused by the expansion and contraction of water and snow that seeps under the pavement. According to the Car Care Council, the pothole numbers this year are unprecedented and are causing considerable damage that can result in unexpected, costly repairs for car owners.
Before your next drive, it’s a good idea to review the following tips on how to steer clear of potholes and how to identify symptoms of pothole damage to your car.
Many cities seem to be working day in and day out with their transportation teams to fill potholes, but roads across the nation are still a cause for concern. While the roads are still pocked with holes, drive with care and heed these safe-driving tips from Weather.com.
- Keep your eyes peeled for potholes: When you spot one, check for surrounding traffic before you swerve out of the way.
- Slow down: If swerving is out of the question because other vehicles are around you, slow down and hold the steering wheel firmly as you drive over a pothole. Both abrupt braking and hitting a pothole at a high speed can increase the chance of damaging your car. Instead, let off the brakes the moment before you hit the pothole; this will allow the car to absorb the blow.
- Watch out for puddles: Treat puddles as undercover potholes; after all, you don’t know what’s lying under the still water.
- Don’t tailgate: Remember, all of the drivers on the road are dodging potholes, so be sure to leave ample space between you and the car in front of you. That way, if the driver takes a quick dive into a hole, you’ll have a much better chance of dodging their bumper.
Spot the Damage
Hitting a pothole can knock a car’s wheels out of alignment, affect the steering and kill tires and wheels. If this happens to your car, you’ll want to see a professional technician quickly, according to Car Care Council. Here are a few indicators from the Car Care Council that your car may have suffered from some pothole damage.
- Changes in handling: If you notice excessive vibration or uneven tire wear, the cause could be suspension issues.
- Alignment issues: If your car pulls to the left or right instead of sticking to a straight path, there may be a wheel alignment concern.
- Tire variations: Low tire pressure and bulges or dents in the rim can all be attributed to pothole damage.
Be sure to check out the local pothole policies on your official city website. In some U.S. cities – including Chicago, Cleveland and Richmond – you can report pothole-related damage, and the city may reimburse you for the repairs.
Have any other tips? Share them with the readers below!