Pothole Avoidance

Those of us who live in Winter-weather country are just emerging from record-setting snow and freezing temperatures. And now there’s a new problem to face: potholes. Thanks to this winter’s extreme freeze-and-thaw cycles, the spring of 2015 promises to be an epic pothole season. And that’s not good news for those providing secure transportation.

Potholes are a matter of safety and inconvenience. But there are things that can be done before, during, and after hitting a pothole. Develop a proactive approach similar to  a security scenario except you’re avoiding potholes instead of security issues.

That strategy is similar to conducting a route survey, except you are conducting a pothole survey. Since you take the same route, be aware of the location of potholes. Also keep in mind that new ones can show up in just a day or two.


  • Check tire pressures. Keep them at the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Have a clean windshield! You can’t avoid the pothole you can’t see.
  • Observe the traffic ahead of you. If you see other cars swerving and stopping, it could be a warning that a pothole lies ahead.
  • Beware of puddles. What might appear to be surface water could be a deep, wide,  sharp-edged pothole hiding below the waterline
  • On roads that you know have potholes, reduce your speed. Hitting the pothole at a slower speed will create less damage. It’s a science thing.

All have failed – during pothole interaction

  • Brake lightly or, if possible, not at all. Keep a presence of mind and ease off the brakes before impact. Pressing hard on the brake pedal compresses the front suspension and  increases the damage.
  • If possible, don’t swerve away from the pothole as a last-ditch attempt to avoid it. You risk hitting the pothole at an angle, which can cause more damage to the tire, wheel rim, and alignment than if you hit it straight on. Last-second avoidance maneuvers  can be hazardous to your health and upset the guy sitting in the back seat.
  • If you swerve away from the pothole, check traffic around the vehicle to ensure there is nothing  to hit.

After you hit the pothole

  • Inspect Tires – Immediately pay attention to whether or not you have a flat tire.  Look at the tire and rim to ensure no damage.
  • Inspect Suspension – If the pothole was major, have the suspension checked.  A good indication of a problem is unusual noises or vibrations. Don’t wait, have the vehicle suspension checked as soon as possible.
  • Check Alignment – Hitting a pothole can, and usually will, knock the wheel out of alignment and affect the steering. If the vehicle is pulling to the left or right, have the wheel alignment checked.
  • Recognize Noises or Vibrations – A hard pothole hit can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. If you hit a pothole, listen for any new or different sounds. If you notice any, it’s time to have the vehicle checked by a technician.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to discover that there is pothole website: http://www.pothole.info/

This post is from the International Security Driver Association

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