Spring has sprung officially, and that means that after winter weather, we are often left with a bunch of potholes in the road. In fact, AAA estimates that 30 million U.S. drivers suffered enough damage last year to require repairs. It happened to me just a year or so ago with a new BMW, and I was going at a low rate of speed. Total damage to the suspension and a new tire and wheel exceeded $7000.
The people at Michelin have put out tips on avoiding pothole damage:
1. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
Ensure your tires are properly inflated according to your vehicle manufacturer (found on the inside of driver’s doorjamb). Properly inflated tires help protect your vehicle from pothole damage.
2. Practice Safe Following Distance
Give yourself enough time to react to the road ahead. An alert driver with a safe following distance will have more time to avoid potholes or adjust speed to minimize impact.
3. Focus On The Road and Beware of Puddles
Pay close attention to the road ahead and watch out for puddles. What may look like a harmless puddle might actually be a dangerous pothole and there’s no telling how deep that crater might be!
4. Know the Signs of Trouble
If you do hit a pothole, pay attention to your car for signs of trouble. Hitting a pothole can knock a vehicle’s wheel out of alignment, causing it to pull let or right and also causing uneven wear on the tires over time. Check your tires for any severe cracks or bulges and consult a tire professional to see if they indicate a problem.
5. Slow Down and Grip The Wheel
If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow your speed to minimize impact, and grip the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Warning: never brake over a pothole, which could cause more damage to your car.
6. Spot a pothole?
Report it to your local Department of Transportation or the city or county road department to ensure it’s fixed in a timely manner.