The Problem with Potholes
With 240 million registered vehicles traveling a whopping 2.9 trillion miles every year, our roads see trillions of tires every week. Anytime you travel in your car, you face one of your car’s worst enemies: potholes. Plaguing millions of roads all over North America, potholes remain to be a common problem – regardless of the city you find yourself in.
Not only do potholes jostle everyone while driving around town, but it can also cause various amounts of damage to your vehicle. Today, our Christian Brothers Automotive technicians talk potholes, why you should avoid them, and what you can do if you’re on a collision course with one or many.
How Are Potholes Formed?
Potholes are commonly found on most roads in North America and vary in shape and size. Most potholes are formed when water seeps under the pavement, freezes, then thaws. This weakens the road and causes the soil to give way, thus causing a pothole. Additionally, poor setting, construction, layering, compacting, or heavy traffic conditions can lead to an increase in potholes.
What Kind of Damage Can Potholes Cause?
Of approximately 33,000 traffic fatalities each year, one-third involve poor road conditions. With the increase in both commercial and consumer traffic expected every year, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid potholes while driving. If you continually drive over potholes, your car can experience hundreds to thousands of dollars in damage.
Some of the reasons you should always avoid potholes while driving include:
- Damage Your Tires – Hitting a pothole can cause your tires to become bulged, scratched, or even punctured. This isn’t a guarantee for every pothole, but your tires should always be inspected if you have a suspicion you hit a pothole pretty hard.
- Dent Your Rims – In some cases, your car’s rims may be damaged. Depending on the severity of the pothole, your rims can dent, scratch, or even crack. It’s important to double-check your car’s rims, to ensure the safety of yourself, your family and others on the road.
- Car Accident – If you or someone else hits a pothole at high speed, it may lead to a car accident. Losing control of your vehicle is a common occurrence when even the most experienced driver hits a pothole unexpectedly.
- Fluid Leaks – Potholes can also cause damage to the undercarriage of your car. Whether it hits a fluid line or your axle, the underpart of your car should always be thoroughly inspected if you encounter a pothole.
How Do I Drive Over A Pothole?
While you may do everything you can to avoid potholes while driving, some potholes may simply not be avoidable. Whether it’s taking over the whole lane or there is no room to swerve, there are a few things you should remember when you see a pothole on the road:
- Slow Down – In cases where you’re going to hit a pothole, it’s important to at least slow down from your current speed. Slowing your car down before you hit the pothole not only minimizes the damage to your vehicle and tires and also ensures you are not braking directly on the pothole. Braking atop a pothole can cause more damage.
- Brace for Impact – When you slow down, it’s important to brace for impact. From ensuring that you’re holding the steering wheel firmly to scanning your surroundings, take the proper precautions to decrease the chance of losing control of your vehicle. Giving your passengers a heads up before you go over the hole can save your friend from the shock, as well as the possibility of biting a lip or chipping a tooth.
- Look for Damage – While you can perform a simple inspection yourself to look for possible tire or cosmetic damage, you should have a professional perform an inspection at your earliest convenience. Some of the damage may not be visible, as internal damage can occur to any make or model. You should always double-check your air pressure after running over any major potholes in the road.
In any case, your vehicle should be inspected for damage if a pothole is driven over. Lucky for you, our professional team at our auto repair shop offers free inspection services for all types of makes and models.
The Christian Brothers Automotive Difference
Every vehicle that enters our shop is given a courtesy inspection. Free of charge, our simple inspection is designed to assess your vehicle’s overall health and performance.
With our courtesy inspections, excellent service, and reliable repairs, you can turn to our team of professional and knowledgeable technicians for help. If you’ve noticed a change in your car’s drivability, have our team perform an inspection right away.
Within a simple call or a few clicks, you can schedule a visit to one of our automotive repair shops. Locate your nearest Christian Brothers Automotive by using our store locator.