What do you do if you hit a pothole?

Potholes have become a part of South African life but avoiding them is not always possible

Reuben Van Niekerk
Consumer advice
wheel alignment

Potholes have become a fact of life in South Africa and while avoiding them totally is first prize that is not always possible. These tips will help motorists avoid hitting potholes and advise what to do if you do unfortunately hit them.

Reduce your speed

If you are travelling on a road that you suspect might feature potholes it is a good idea to reduce your speed. This will allow you to spot the potholes more easily. It will also be much easier to take evasive action when travelling at a slower speed. The risk of damage to tyres and rims also reduces if you hit a pothole at a slower speed.

Beware of oncoming traffic

It can be very tempting to move over to the other side of the road when trying to avoid potholes but this could put you at risk of a head on collision, especially at night. If you need to utilise the right-hand side of the road to avoid potholes make 100 percent sure that it is safe to do so.

Don’t change direction

If you realise too late that you are about to hit a pothole, the best thing to do is to continue steering in a straight direction and not make any sudden steering movements, like trying to swerve at the last moment. Also avoid any sudden brake or accelerator actions as this could unsettle the car.

Assess the damage

If you hit a pothole and it results in a flat or burst tyre you should hear or feel that. If not listen out to hear if everything sounds normal, be aware of any vibrations and ensure that your car is not pulling to one side.

Check your tyres

Ensure that your tyres are always in a good condition and properly inflated. If you have hit a pothole be sure to inspect both the inside and outside of your tyres for any damage such as cuts or bulges on the sidewall once you reach a safe location. It might also be a good idea to check your wheel alignment more regularly if you often travel on pothole ridden roads. If you suspect any suspension, it is a good idea to get your vehicle inspected by a professional as soon as possible.

Beware the weather

Potholes are almost impossible to see during rainy conditions as they fill up with water. Be extra vigilant when travelling in wet conditions or at night and ensure that you keep a look out for potholes.

Check your insurance

Make sure that your insurance policy includes cover for damage caused by potholes. If the policy does, they should cover the repairs of any damage that results from hitting a pothole. Many tyre fitment centres now also offer tyre insurance, which can help lessen the cost of replacing tyres damaged by potholes or punctures.

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