Keeping Safe While Driving and Dealing with Potholes and Other Road Defects

Potholes and other road defects like cracks and debris can lead to more than just a bumpy ride. Depending on the size and depth of what you encounter, road hazards can cause costly damages to your personal car or truck. On average, pothole damages alone cost US drivers around $3 billion in repairs a year. It is important to know how to avoid road defects, drive safely over them, report them to authorities, and take care of your vehicle if the damage does occur.

Below are a few tips on how to drive safely to avoid potholes and other road hazards and protect your vehicle:

  • Drive cautiously: Always remain attentive and be ready to slow down if necessary, which is helpful in spotting potholes or other road defects in advance. Increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, which helps to ensure you can see the hazard in time and react in case the car in front of you is maneuvering to avoid it.
  • Increase your visibility: Make sure you have a clear view of your surroundings and the road ahead so that you can see the road defects in advance and clearly. If driving in the dark, make sure your headlights are on and the windshield is clean and free from fog.
  • Look out for puddles: If you can do it safely, always try to avoid puddles. Very often they can be potholes of varying sizes filled with water and can sneak up on you unexpectedly.
  • Check your tires frequently: Before driving you should always check your tire pressure. Both low and high tire pressure can make potholes and other road defects more damaging to your vehicle, causing things like flat tires.
  • Stay alert on unfamiliar roads: When driving on a new route make sure to be extra cautious and ready to use best practices for keeping safe. Always pay attention to the posted warnings and signs along these routes, as they are the best first warning that the hazard is ahead.

If you can’t avoid the pothole or other road defects:

  • Hit the pothole squarely: If the pothole becomes unavoidable, straighten your tires and coast over the pothole squarely. Hitting the pothole at an angle increases the chances that a sharp corner of rock can damage your tire and destabilize the vehicle.
  • Go slow: Avoiding unnecessary speed allows for faster and safer decisions to be made while driving. Make sure to slow down before the road defect and then carefully release the breaks and coast over it. This will help to minimize and absorb its impact.
  • Don’t slam on breaks: Slamming on the breaks puts you and everyone behind you in danger. If you can’t avoid the road defect, make sure you’ve been driving safely beforehand to mitigate potential damage instead of slamming on the breaks and increasing the chances of an accident.
  • Inspect your vehicle after impact: Always make sure to inspect your vehicle after driving over a road defect. Even if you do not think any damage has occurred, it is better to make sure, so you stay safe on the road and get your vehicle fixed fast if necessary.

By following these easy steps and maintaining the proper insurance coverage, you can enjoy your rides, even bumpy ones, safely. Our personal auto insurance policies provide coverage for bodily injury and property damage to others, no-fault personal injury coverage for your vehicle's occupants, and physical damage coverage for your own vehicle for collision or other perils.

Safety aims to ensure that we provide the highest standard of service to our policyholders – we offer increased coverage for convenience and peace of mind through our Safety Shield Plus, a broad coverage endorsement for your Personal Auto Insurance policy.

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