How to Handle Potholes

Potholes — they seem to pop up when you least expect them, and they're tough to avoid.

And hitting one? Not fun. Besides a jolt behind the wheel, they can cost you money if your vehicle suffers damage from potholes.

But not to worry. Here are some pothole safety tips that will help you avoid major damage and assess the situation if you do hit a pothole.

Pothole Planning

Check tire pressure. A tire that is under or over inflated is more susceptible to damage. Keeping your tires in tip-top shape all the time goes a long way toward protecting you and your vehicle.

Beware of puddles. Deep, sharp-edged potholes filled with water are often disguised as puddles. Being a defensive driver and anticipating problems can help you avoid them.

Reduce your speed. Hitting a pothole slower generally results in less damage.

Brake lightly. Slamming on your brakes can cause greater tire damage and also compresses your vehicle's front-end suspension system.

Don't swerve. Your vehicle could hit the pothole on an odd angle, causing more damage to the tire, wheel rim and alignment.

I've Hit a Pothole Now What?

Check it out. If you hit a pothole, survey the damage as soon as safely possible. Check for fluid leaking from the undercarriage and listen for rattling when driving.

Examine your tires. Make sure your tires are still inflated in order to reduce damage to wheel rims. Look for bulges on sidewalls and dents in the rims.

Check alignment. If your vehicle pulls to one side, there could be a problem with your alignment.

Make a call. Many cities have a pothole-reporting process. If you see a pothole that needs repair, contact your local streets department.

If you believe a pothole has damaged anything beyond the tires of your car, contact your American Family Insurance agent to see if it is covered under your collision insurance.


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Related Topics: On The Road , Car Maintenance , Car Safety , Safe Driving