Avoiding pothole damage

Published on 27 January 2014

After having sorted out your car insurance policy and everything else needed to drive safely on the road, it is important to consider some of the less obvious problems we face on the roads, one of which is potholes.

Potholes are an increasing problem on our roads, and have been made worse by two harsh winters which have seriously damaged the road surface – see our winter motor tips. Driving into a pothole can cause serious damage to a car which can be costly to fix, so it is worth taking a few simple precautions to minimise any risk/damage to your car.

It may sound obvious, but the best way to avoid potholes is to leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front. Not only is this good practice when driving in general but it will give you a greater chance of spotting the pothole before you are on top of it, or in it. Never swerve suddenly to avoid a pothole as a sudden maneuver may cause an accident, or take your car into the path of oncoming traffic. When trying to avoid potholes, bear in mind that motorbikes or cyclists may be trying to avoid them also and may pull out into your path.

If you think you may have hit a pothole, stop whenever safe to do so and check your tyres for damage. Hitting a pothole may also throw your wheels out of alignment, so it is worth taking your car to the garage to have them checked. Unbalanced wheels will mean tyres wear unevenly and become dangerously bald more quickly.

Try to avoid routes used often by heavy traffic such as buses and trucks. This isn’t always practical, but potholes are more likely to occur on routes which take a pounding by regular, heavy vehicles. Side roads and less used routes may be of better quality.