The weather is the most significant contributor to the severity of the pothole, as water drips through cracks in the roadway. During the colder winter months, that water freezes, expands, and pushes upward. As the water expands, the pavement above the water also begins to expand, bend, and crack. When the weather gets warmer, the water melts and the pavement rescinds, splits, and gapes. This process typically happens time and time again before a serious pothole is formed.

When you drive, make sure to that you take the necessary precautions to avoid potholes. Try to slow down as much as possible before the moment of impact. Hitting potholes at a slower speed could greatly reduce damage to your tires, wheels, alignment, and suspension. Be sure to check your rearview mirror before any abrupt braking, though. A fender bender could be more expensive to fix than pothole damage.

When driving on long stretches of highway, be sure to leave enough room between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Sometimes, an inanimate object on the road can help you calculate a safe driving distance. A good rule of thumb is when the vehicle in front of you passes the object, count out three seconds. It should take about that long for your vehicle to pass the object too, giving you ample braking time to avoid a serious pothole.

The tires are the most important cushion between your car and a pothole. Make sure they have enough tread and are properly inflated. To check the tread depth, insert a penny into the tire’s groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. The tread should cover part of Lincoln’s head. If it does not, it can mean the tread is not at the correct depth.

After hitting a pothole, be diligent about checking critical components of your vehicle. Any shake or shimmy in your once-smooth ride could mean something was damaged. If you have checked the tires and no damage is visible, schedule an appointment with us. We can inspect the vehicle to ensure it is able to be driven efficiently.