Here at 1stCertified Collision Center, we often get cars in our shop that have been damaged due to potholes or where collisions were ultimately caused by potholes, so it’s a serious problem here and nationwide. If you’ve ever encountered a serious pothole while driving, then you know what we’re talking about. In most cases, drivers see potholes before they drive over them, but other times, it’s too late to avoid them. First, there’s that loud thump, often followed by a scratching noise. It can even be worse, with axles breaking and tires flying around, but most often, they cause minor to moderate damage, depending on the road and the speed of the vehicle in question.

We want to make sure you are driving safely, so here is some helpful information about the dangers and consequences of hitting a pothole, brought to you by all of us at 1stCertified Collision Center.

 

We All Encounter Potholes

Potholes are a familiar nuisance on our roads because today’s highways and major arteries get more traffic than ever before. Potholes make our roads look ugly, but maybe more importantly, they pose a threat to the safety of everyone, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike.

People think potholes develop over time, but actually they can form practically overnight. As a commuter of Hesperia, for instance, you likely drive the identical route every day, so when you encounter a sudden, unexpected pothole, that is where the significant damage can occur. While tiny potholes may only cause small damage to a vehicle, larger ones can actually cause an accident, and possibly severe injuries to anyone involved. Plus, hitting that same little pothole day after day can logically result in serious damage over time.

 

Common Pothole Accidents

Common types of accidents caused by potholes include:

  • A vehicle’s wheel becomes lodged in the pothole, causing it to swerve sideways or, in the case of two-wheeled vehicles, flip over.
  • A motorist or rider notices a pothole at the last second and swerves to avoid it, possibly causing an accident.
  • A pedestrian or road worker crossing the street accidentally steps into a pothole or trips over it, resulting in injury.

 

How Can We Prevent Potholes?

The statistics aren’t pretty: One-third of the 33,000 traffic deaths in the U.S. each year can be attributed in part to poor road conditions and that includes potholes. For those lucky enough to escape without injury, a pothole-related incident can cost you a ton of money in both mechanical and collision repairs

The ways you can prevent damage to your car (and others) due to a pothole are simple! Just refer to the following:

  • Keep alert and avoid hard hits to your car due to the potholes if at all possible. Pothole season is the worst from February through May, so take extra precaution during those months.
  • Be certain that your car is in good shape. When tire air pressure is low, the tire becomes more susceptible to damage. Similarly, if struts and shock absorbers are compromised in any way, the car’s undercarriage is more in jeopardy of being damaged when the car hits a deep pothole.
  • Pay attention to the road.  Be on your guard and watching for potholes and other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians around you, so that you can avoid potholes in your path and causing damage to others when swerving to avoid damage. If you can’t veer out of the way, brake before hitting it but let off on the brakes just prior to impact.
  • Drive with caution. It’s basically Physics 101–reduce velocity and you reduce the damage. In many pothole-related accidents, speeding was a factor.
  • Check the tires for bulges and blisters. Tire blowouts do not necessarily happen at the point of impact. Sometimes the pothole will inflict tire damage that becomes a blowout 10 miles down the road, which can lead to catastrophic accidents. If you’ve hit a pothole hard, pull over and perform an inspection of all four wheels immediately.
  • Pay attention to your steering. Any change in handling after hitting irregular pavement can lead to a loss of control. Look for swaying and pulling in one direction.
  • Pay heed to the vehicle’s suspension. If your car’s suspension or control seems to be worse than before, it might be due to structural issues with your shocks and struts, steering knuckle, ball joints, steering rack, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends.
  • Potholes are such a concern in the United States that there is a holiday called “Pothole Day”. We’re not kidding. So, if you live in a town or city where potholes are a concern, take this advice and information to heart, brought to your attention by all of us at 1stCertified Collision Center.

 

We at 1stCertified Collision Center want to make sure you’re driving safely, so be sure to remember these tips about how to prevent pothole damage to your vehicle. It may save you more than you realize!

Sources: www.pothole.info, Wall Street Journal and Highway Safety Institute