Have you experienced a sudden banging sound and shock waves passing through your car while driving at night? You bring the vehicle to a quick halt only to find out that a huge pothole has buckled the front left wheel. This may sound familiar to you, so let’s find out how best to avoid pothole damage best.1
How are potholes created?1
Potholes are created when rainwater begins to seep into cracks on the tarmac surface. Once inside, the water expands and contracts with varying temperatures, thereby disturbing the road surface’s structural integrity. Simultaneously, car tyres are going many times over the weakened spot, and soon the asphalt surface collapses into a hole called a pothole. Potholes can be treacherous depending on what speed we encounter them. Due to the damage potholes can cause to cars and the threat to general road safety, it is important to note how we can avoid them or minimise contact with them.
How to avoid potholes:
- Travel at slow speeds1
It makes sense that the slower you travel, the less damage is likely to occur.
- Keep your distance1
When travelling on a bad road, keep a good distance between your car and the one in front of you. Should the front car hit a pothole, you may still have adequate time to take evasive action.
- Drive carefully when driving in rain1
Potholes fill up quickly with rainwater, making it even more challenging to detect them in time. It is impossible to know how deep the pothole it is, so always travel slowly in your car when it is raining or has just rained so that you can minimise any damage should you hit a pothole.
- How should you drive?1
When driving on a road that is suspected of having potholes, keep tight control of the steering wheel. Hitting a pothole can be jarring and could cause the steering wheel to spin out of your hands and make you lose control.
- Avoid braking1
Avoid braking when hitting a pothole, as this could exacerbate any damage.
- Check tyre pressures1
Correctly inflated tyres are essential when travelling , especially along bad roads, because underinflated tyres may cause more significant damage.
- Regularly inspect the car1
After hitting a few potholes, you must inspect the car later for any possible damage to the rim or tyre itself. If necessary, take the car to a tyre dealer where the wheel alignment can be checked. If unattended, the car’s steering can be affected and cause unnecessary wear and tear to tyres.
Potholes can be dangerous for motorists on South Africa’s road network. Do you have car insurance? If hitting a pothole causes severe damage to your car, you can still have peace of mind if you have cover. Are you in the market for affordable and reliable car insurance? Contact PMD for car insurance that includes useful and unique benefits like fixed premiums*. T’s and C’s apply.
This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.