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Protect your tyres and yourself when driving over potholes

It helps to be prepared for anything while driving as the unexpected can happen at any time and even the safest drivers can run into problems through no fault of their own. Potholes are one such hazard which have the potential to cause problems.
Pot holes in the road

Following guidelines set out in The Highway Code will help give you the best possible chance of avoiding danger. And having an insurance policy that looks out for you, such as Coverbox telematics insurance, will also help you remain safe because it will give you the opportunity to continuously improve your driving (if you'd like to find out how beneficial telematics could be for you, click here to find out more.

The problem with potholes

A recent survey suggested that potholes, which can be responsible for damaging cars and potentially causing accidents, are on the rise in the UK.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) carried out its Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey and found that almost a fifth of UK roads are in poor condition. It appears that councils don't have enough money to carry out maintenance at the required rate. According to the AIA, roads need to be resurfaced every 10 to 20 years, but the average time span in England for this work is a very long 55 years.

"It is vital councils keep our roads in a good condition to deliver better journeys for drivers," the Department for Transport said, adding that it will be providing councils with more than £6 billion over six years to help repair roads.

Staying safe on damaged roads

Most of the time potholes are just annoying, but occasionally they can cause more serious risk if a driver doesn't know how to handle them properly, and they may be a contributing factor to an accident.

Here are a few tips for dealing with potholes safely so that both you and your car remain unharmed.

  • Stay on the lookout for potholes at all times. (Of course, as a responsible driver, you should always be wary of any potential hazards on the roads.) This means leaving enough space between you and the driver in front so you can see potholes well in advance. (Again, you should be doing this anyway!)
  • Swerving to avoid a pothole can be dangerous for other road users, so try to give yourself enough time to check if it's safe to move out to avoid a crater.
  • If you can't avoid a pothole, try to slow down before driving over it. Driving over it slowly will reduce the likelihood of damaging your vehicle and losing control. Also, it's not good to brake when crossing a pothole, as this, too, can cause damage by shooting the car forward.
  • To ensure you maintain control, hold the steering wheel firmly in the correct position (if the wheel was a clock face, your hands should be at '10' and '2').
  • Remember that if there has been heavy rain recently, the pothole may be filled with water. If you're suspicious about a puddle on the road, it's best to try to avoid it.
  • Measure your tyre pressure to make sure each one is within the recommended range. Properly inflated tyres are less likely to be damaged by potholes.
  • If, after hitting a pothole, you notice your steering wheel isn't centring properly or the car is pulling to one side, these are signs that your wheel alignment has been affected. Take your car into a garage to be checked over as soon as you can.
  • If a pothole manages to puncture your tyre and it goes flat, then you will need to pull over to change your tyre. If you're unsure how to change a flat tyre, you can always call for assistance if you have breakdown cover. Only attempt to change the tyre if you're confident how to do it, have all the necessary equipment (including a jack, wrench, gloves, a torch (if it's dark), and a reflective jacket), and have a safe place to do so away from traffic (never change your tyre at the side of a busy road or on the hard shoulder of a motorway).

Promoting proper road safety is very important to Coverbox. Do you have any road safety tips? Share your advice on our Twitter page – @Coverbox - using #RoadSafety.