Pothole Safety Tips to Help Prolong Tyre Life
Potholes are a common problem across UK roads and an issue which has become part of most people’s daily commute.
According to AA estimates, potholes are costing drivers and their insurers at least £1 million per month due to massive car repair bills. Despite the huge cost to road users and insurance companies, potholes cannot always be fixed quickly due to council budget cuts and overstretched repair teams.
Potholes are caused by repeated freezing and thawing of water under the road, weakening the surface and causing cracks and holes. Cold winter weather only increases the damage and recent big freezes across the UK during winter seasons only make the problem worse.
Keep these pothole safety tips in mind next time you’re driving to help prolong the life of your tyres:
Driving to minimise damage
Being aware of the road condition may seem obvious, but it’s something that we need to be conscious of when trying to maintain the condition of a vehicle. Look out for potholes in the road and avoid swerving at short notice as this may put yourself and other drivers at risk. Instead, slow down as much as possible before hitting the pothole and avoid braking directly over the pothole as this can cause more damage. Remember, the slower you hit a pothole the less impact the pothole will have on the tyres and suspension. Ideally, it’s best to be able to drive around the pothole in a controlled manner.
Hold the steering wheel securely when driving over potholes so you can maintain control of the vehicle and be aware that in wet conditions potholes may be hidden by puddles. What may seem like a puddle, may be a pothole waiting to cause damage to your tyres or suspension.
Check for alignment issues
Damage caused by potholes can be as minor as a superficial scuff on the tyre side wall. Unfortunately, hitting a large pothole or repeatedly driving over uneven roads has a more detrimental effect on the suspension and consequently the condition of your tyres and wheel alignment. Misaligned tyres wear out much faster than they should, also affecting the handling and fuel economy of the vehicle. Vibrations through the steering wheel, vehicle pulling to one side and uneven tyre wear are all key signs that the wheel alignment has been knocked out and needs to be assessed by a specialist. Many people assume that hitting one pothole is enough to impact the wheel alignment of your vehicle, however it would have to be hit at great speed or be a very large hole to cause immediate damage. It’s more common for poor road conditions to damage the suspension on your vehicle!
Correctly inflated tyres are more resilient against potholes than tyres with too little or too much air. Check tyre pressure regularly using the vehicle handbook or look inside the fuel cap if you are unsure what PSI to inflate your tyres to.
Potholes can also cause visible structural damage to your car. Inspect for bulges on the sides of tyres, dents in the wheel rims, damage to the exhaust and uneven tyre wear. It’s handy to know that when you have your wheel alignment checked, the technician will also check the tyres for visible signs of damage or uneven wear.
Finally, if you do notice potholes in a road report them to the local council for repair!