During the tricky time between winter and spring when everything begins to thaw, potholes start popping up on roadways and parking lots. These holes are much, much more than a nuisance—they can turn into a driving hazard and a big repair bill too!
The American Automobile Association’s 2021 data showed just how expensive pothole-related vehicle damage was for American drivers: 1 in 10 drivers who hit a pothole had to get some type of repair. In total, there was an astounding $26.5 billion spent on repairs to vehicles that sustained damage from hitting a pothole in 2021.
Hitting a pothole can cause both minor and serious issues in your car, truck, SUV or other vehicle. The best course of action is to avoid hitting them altogether.
Here are 7 tips to help you avoid hitting a pothole (or sustaining too much damage if you accidentally do).
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Weather changes can mess with the air pressure in a tire. If you hit a pothole with an underinflated tire, you might cause more damage. Keep your tires inflated to the appropriate psi for your vehicle.
- Drive at a speed that is safe and keep your eyes on the road.
- Do not suddenly swerve around a pothole. You could lose control of your car if you swerve suddenly or you may cause another accident, even if you avoided the pothole.
- Increase your driving distance. This will help you see more of the road ahead and hopefully prepare if a pothole is coming up.
- Drive cautiously. If you live in an area that is notorious for potholes, drive more cautiously, especially once the snow melts and spring begins.
- Make sure you have great visibility. Take care of anything that may be interfering with your visibility. Check your wipers, defroster, headlights and windshield for any cracks or chips.
- Avoid splashing in puddles, if possible. Puddles may be large potholes that you do not want to hit.
If you hit a pothole, check for damage as soon as possible. Just because you didn’t hit it hard doesn’t mean something wasn’t thrown off.
What do I do if I hit a pothole?
Frustration, panic, shock—any of these are possible after hitting a pothole unexpectedly. Do your best to stay calm. When it’s safe to do so, pull over so you can check for damage.
How do I know if my vehicle was damaged after hitting a pothole?
Potholes can cause flat tires and bent rims. These are easy issues to notice. However, there are some issues that are harder to spot. It will be a bit less obvious if the pothole damaged your struts, shocks, steering or more.
If you hit a pothole, pay attention for any of these signs:
- Bouncier ride
- Bottoming out
- Veering to the left or right
- Unusual vibration
- Vehicle sitting lower than usual in the front or rear
- Front-end diving down when braking
If you see damage or notice a difference in handling, you probably need to get it checked out by a professional. Your vehicle may be unsafe to drive and you’ll need to tow it.
Are potholes covered by insurance?
Some drivers may have elected auto insurance that includes Collision coverage, which may cover pothole damage. It’s best to read your policy in full to understand what is and is not a covered event.
If you’re looking to see what coverage is available to help protect you from pothole damage, give our InsureOnline.com agents a call today at 1-844-358-5605 or start your free quote here. We’ll be happy to assist you in getting great coverage at a price that works for you.
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