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April 04, 2012

How to Prevent Pothole Damage (and What to Do if You Can't Avoid One)

PotholeYou likely don’t think about potholes until you rumble over one and your coffee spills and scorches your thighs. But hold onto your latte because the advent of spring temperatures means pothole season has arrived. Here are some preventative measures you can take to avoid what ultimately can be major damage to your car:

Keep tires properly inflated: The force of a pothole collision can cause structural damage to overinflated tires and cause underinflated tires to blow out. Keep proper tire pressure and note that low-profile tires (those with less rubber between the rim and road) offer less resistance to a blow from a pothole.

Avoid puddles: Suppress your inner child and avoid driving through puddles if you can. Those still waters could be hiding a pothole that runs deep.

Give yourself room: It’s always good practice to leave room between your vehicle and the car in front of you, but doing so during pothole season gives you more time to spot and react safely.

Slow down, and roll: If you see a pothole but don’t have time or clearance to avoid it, then reduce your speed and roll right through it. Braking on top of the pothole transfers vehicle weight to the front and can actually increase damage.

Hold firm: When rolling through the pothole, hold firm to the wheel and steer in a straight line to avoid losing control of your vehicle.

Check your vehicle: You’ve made impact. Are you feeling any vehicular vibrations? Is your steering off kilter? These and other symptoms are signs that you should have your car checked.

Rat them out: Most municipalities invite the public to report potholes, but a Montreal ad agency makes it easier than ever. Its free iPhone app, Pothole Season, uses Google Maps so users can tag a pothole in any city in the world; the app then emails local officials requesting a repair.

There may not be much you can do to prevent a pothole, but there’s plenty you can do to protect yourself and your car driving through the hazards cropping up—sometimes overnight—on spring roads.

Audia_net_Pamela__0042_WebSizePamela Reyhan is the manager of digital content strategy at Allstate Insurance Company.  She loves all thingsdigital, is the mother of twin girls and is a former Diet Coke addict.


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