Every time the weather get colder, it seems as if those annoying potholes spring up overnight. If you’re lucky you might avoid one, but you can bet there’s another waiting just ahead to give you and your vehicle a major jolt. Keep reading to find out the essential things you should know about potholes.
How They Happen
Potholes are formed when water makes its way into the ground. Once there, the cold winter temperatures cause it to freeze, which also results in expansion that shifts the pavement around. Later on, the combination of the thawing water and vehicles running over the spot result in the pavement being pushed down into the hole caused by the freezing and thawing, thus forming a pothole.
While there are some potholes you can see easily and miss, there are many others that are lurking in areas you can’t see. When spring arrives (or another freeze/thaw cycle hits) beware of puddles. Even if you’re driving on roads that don’t have them often, potholes can hide quite nicely in puddles, resulting in that jarring – and potentially damaging – hit when your wheel finds one. The best way to avoid this is to drive a bit more cautiously and pay attention. You just might see the car in front of you hit one and be able to avoid it!
Speeding Doesn’t Help
There’s a pesky myth out there that going fast over a pothole will help minimize the bump. This simply isn’t true, and will likely result in even more damage if you hit one hard enough – you’ve seen those cars with flat tires right after a serious pothole, right? Yeah, they were likely going too fast over it.
Brake, but not Too Much
While it’s best to go over potholes slowly, you should avoid braking right before you hit one. This will likely cause your vehicle to nosedive right as you hit it, which can increase the amount of damage that can occur. You should also make sure to let off of your brakes right before your tire comes in contact with the hole as well. This will help your vehicle absorb more of the blow, rather than the brunt being solely on the tire and brake.
Check for Damage
Once you’ve hit a pothole, check for damage as soon as possible – even if nothing is noticeable. A bent rim or damage to the tire can happen without you being aware of it. Additionally, if you notice your car is pulling to one direction or the other right after, you’ve likely damaged the suspension.