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How to Deal with Potholes

24th August 2015

A recent study by the World Economic Forum shows that Britain’s roads are of a similar quality as those in Namibia and Puerto Rico. Countries including Portugal, France and Spain were ranked much higher than the UK despite sharing similar wealth. The results were calculated from a number a factors including the quality of road infrastructure.

One of the main problems with our roads is the amount of potholes which are estimated to cause as many as one in ten mechanical failures on UK roads every year.

Potholes begin life as cracks in the road. If moisture gets in to the cracks and freezes, it expands the crack and it becomes a pothole. As the cracks are driven over, they increase in size and depth and become even more of a problem.

The impact of a pothole on a vehicle can be more serious than you would expect. Driving over a pothole can cause buckled wheels, cracked alloys, lumps in tyres and even suspension failure. Furthermore, it could cause wheels to become incorrectly aligned or could even force a driver to lose control of their vehicle whilst on the road.

If you do find a pothole whilst driving, you can report it to the government and it should get fixed. If you are, however, forced to drive over a road with potholes these tips may be useful:

  • Look Out – Keep your eyes open for damages in the road, including potholes and make sure that you adjust your speed if you do spot anything. This is because striking a pothole at a higher speed can cause a greater amount of damage to your vehicle.
  • Be Aware – If you do spot a pothole and decide to swerve out of the way you need to be aware of other traffic and pedestrians on the road. Remember to check all hazards before you change course.
  • Drive Carefully – If you have to drive over the pothole, slow right down and allow the wheel to roll freely in to it. Avoid braking if possible, as braking will cause the vehicle to tilt forward which places unnecessary stress on the suspension.
  • Prevent Losing Control – Try to prevent losing control of your vehicle by holding the steering wheel correctly, with your hands situated at ten and two on the wheel and driving slowly and carefully over the damage.
  • Checking Damage – if you do suffer vehicle damage, make sure that you have found a safe place to stop before attempting to look at your car. It is best that you have your car checked by a specialist if you feel that pothole could have caused internal damage to your vehicle.

Once you have found a safe location to pull over, visually inspect your vehicle for any damage, particularly focusing on your wheels and tyres. At your next opportunity you should also check your tyre pressure which could have been affected by the pothole.

The impact of the pothole may have even had a more serious impact and could have negatively impacted your vehicle’s wheel alignment.

If you have recently hit a pothole and suspect it may have caused damage to your car, visit your local Merityre Specialists as soon as possible. Merityre Specialists offer a free wheel alignment check at all of our branches, just call or drop by at a time that suits you. We will also be able to check your tyres and make any necessary repairs to your vehicle.