Tips to avoid pothole damage

These days, it’s very rare to get around Britain’s roads without coming across a pothole or two, particularly after our harsh winter. For the uninitiated, it may seem like just a little bump in the road (literally), but drivers will also know that hitting one can cause a lot of damage to your car. In May, the AA reported pothole-related claims have soared this year, with an estimated £4.2million worth of damage having being caused to the country’s cars. Hitting a pothole can do anything from puncturing a tyre to completely ruining your car’s suspension or steering, as well as having the potential to cause an accident if one knocks you completely off course – so, naturally, it’s something we all want to avoid out on the roads. We’ve put together a few tips for avoiding potholes that may help you keep your car safe when manoeuvring some of Britain’s crumbling roads.
  1. Take it slow and steady
Hitting a pothole in general isn’t ideal, but hitting one at high speed is even worse and will increase the chances of your car sustaining serious damage. If you can spot a pothole coming up, or are driving on a road you know is particularly bad for them, make sure to stick to a steady speed. Similarly, if it’s been raining and you can see puddles around, be cautious – those puddles could actually be hiding a big pothole, so keep your speed down.
  1. Keep a grip on the steering wheel
When you hit a pothole, it can affect your car’s steering and may cause you to venture off your side of the road. That’s why it’s really important to keep a firm grip on your steering wheel, so, if you do hit one, you’re able to quickly correct it and keep yourself in your lane.
  1. Remember the two-second rules
It’s a rule of good driving to leave a two-second distance between you and the car in front, but this becomes even more important when it comes to potholes. Leaving a safe distance from the car in front means you have time to react if they hit a pothole – as well as allowing you a chance to notice it upfront and manoeuvre around it.
  1. Keep off the brakes
When you hit a pothole, you’ll naturally reach for the brakes to minimise the impact – however, braking can actually put your car more at risk as this places extra stress on the suspension. Slow down before you reach the pothole, and be sure to keep off the brakes if you do happen to hit it.
  1. Keep your tyres inflated
It’s a good rule of thumb to make sure your tyre pressures are right, and that your tyres aren’t over or underinflated, particularly when it comes to pothole season. Inflated tyres will help to reduce any damage that may come after hitting pothole, reducing the chances of punctures or blowouts on the road.
  1. Check for damage
If you hit a pothole and hear an unwelcome noise, it might be tempted to turn the radio up and pretend nothing happened – but this could spell disaster later on. If you’re concerned you’ve damaged your car, pull over somewhere safe and check for damage. If something doesn’t look or feel right, take your car to a garage to be checked over – you don’t want to let the issue build and cause a bigger problem later on.

Reporting potholes
Of course, the best way to keep your car safe would be for the roads to be completely void of any potholes. While this isn’t exactly realistic, you can do your part by reporting any potholes you find to your local council. If it’s a motorway or major road that you spot the pothole on, you can report it to Highways England using

Claiming back pothole-related damages
In some cases, you can make a claim for damages caused to your car by a pothole. To do this, contact the correct authority for the pothole you damaged your car on (e.g. the local council of the road or Highways England) with information on the issue. They will then send you a damage report form, if they think your claim is valid, and you’ll have to give photo evidence, an MOT certificate and any repair invoices in this form. Be aware, authorities usually only pay out for claims if they’re aware of the issue – so if the pothole hasn’t been reported, you might be out of luck.

Posted on July 19, 2018

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