How to avoid damage when hitting a pothole

By Admin | Posted in How To on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 at

The extensive delays at last weekend’s Daytona 500 stand as an abrupt reminder that pothole season is just around the corner. To avoid considerable repair costs, it is crucial to know how to drive through potholes and how to best react after doing so.

If you are driving at a fast enough speed where you cannot avoid hitting a pothole, there are a few things that you should do before impact to save your car from unnecessary damage.

Although it may sound simple, the best thing that you can do before hitting a pothole is slow down. Many drivers subscribe to the theory that one can avoid a pothole by flying over it with great speed, but unfortunately the laws of gravity rarely allow this theory to come into play.

After slowing your vehicle as best as you can, make sure to take your foot off of the brake before impact.

“That will increase the damage severely,” said Larry Rubenstein, owner of Route 1 Auto Service in Peabody, Massachusetts, quoted by the Boston.com. “Now, in addition to the wall stopping the wheel, your brakes are stopping it, too. You’re just going to have to ride the pothole out.”

Also, to avoid losing control of your vehicle, be certain to tightly hold the steering wheel with two hands before entering a pothole.

“Hitting a pothole when you’ve got a loose grip on the wheel can snap the wheel left or right, and your car into another car, or off the road,” says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council, quoted by AOL Autos.

Meanwhile, after hitting a pothole, it is important to do a quick quality check of your vehicle’s major systems. If your car is pulling in one direction or the other, you may have an alignment problem, a common occurrence after a violent impact.

“Also, if you feel a loss of control, if you feel the car bottoming out or bouncing excessively on rough roads, those are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged,” adds White.

If your car does incur damage, contact your insurance company to see if you are covered. Local and state-maintained roads have different statutes concerning public liability.

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