Rain, freezing temperatures and the pounding endured from traffic all contribute to the eventual breakdown of paved road surfaces. If the structure of the road you're driving on has started to fail, it's inevitable that you'll encounter potholes. Hitting a pothole can ruin car tires and throw off the wheel alignment. If your vehicle is traveling fast and/or the pothole is deep, the impact could damage the suspension, destroy the shocks, demolish the bumper, bend the axle, wreck the muffler or warp the frame. In some cases, hitting a pothole with enough force can even deploy a vehicle's airbags.
How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of Potholes
The best way to prevent the destruction caused by potholes is to avoid hitting them, but that's not always possible. Fortunately, there are a number of easy-to-implement strategies that can help you limit the vehicle damage that can occur when you hit one:
- Keep tires inflated to the recommended air pressure in the vehicle owner's manual, rather than the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. Don't over-inflate them, because stiff tires are more likely to cause suspension damage if you hit a pothole.
- When driving in traffic, don't tailgate. Having ample space ahead of you allows you to spot potholes and react in time so you don't hit them. If you need to swerve to maneuver around one, check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Always adjust your speed to match the road and weather conditions. If you know you'll hit a pothole, reduce your speed if possible, but don't brake as you hit the hole because there's a greater chance of vehicle damage when the weight is shifted forward onto the front tires and suspension. Hitting deeply-pitted pavement at high speeds also puts you at risk of losing control and being involved in a collision.
- If possible, try to avoid areas of standing water on the roadway, because they may be covering disastrously deep potholes.
If you need to correct the damaging effects of potholes on the body or frame of your vehicle, contact us today at Gerber Collision & Glass.