When Spring arrives in Michigan, the snow and ice has melted, birds begin to chirp, flowers start to bloom, and dreaded potholes make themselves known. Potholes are caused when melting snow and ice trickle into cracks in the roads and freeze overnight, thereby expanding and causing the pavement to rise and eventually break from the weight of motor vehicles driving over these divots. Not only are these craters unsightly, but they can also damage cars leading to expensive repairs. Luckily, The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) provides some useful tips on how to deal with potholes, and even reminds you to report potholes so that they can be fixed.
MDOT's Tips For Dealing With Potholes
1. Maintain Your Vehicle
Maintaining simple vehicle repairs can potentially limit damages caused by potholes. Keeping tires properly inflated can prevent them from being heavily worn and potentially blowing out on the roadway. Motorists should get the suspension, struts, shocks, springs and steering on their vehicles checked by a certified mechanic. Checking that these few parts are in working order should assist the vehicle in driving over or through minor potholes on the road.
2. Keep Your Eyes Open And Both Hands On The Wheel
It can be easy to mistake a pothole as a shadow, a shallow dip, or a simple puddle if rainfall recently occurred, but with proper head-lighting and clear windows drivers should be able to identify potholes. Also, by keeping the windows and mirrors on the vehicle clean, drivers can better discern potholes on the road. When a pothole is spotted, it's best to avoid hitting a pothole if you can, in order to prevent damage to the vehicle. Some potholes are small and easy enough to maneuver around if a driver is cautious and not engaging in aggressive driving habits like tailgating. Another tip for drivers is to place both hands on the wheel of the vehicle - preferably at 10 and 2, since potholes can cause a vehicle to suddenly change directions which can potentially cause a car accident.
3. How To Drive Through A Pothole
If a pothole is unavoidable, it is best to slow down and then release the brakes just before hitting it. This helps reduce the speed at impact and gives the suspension time to absorb the shock. It’s also a good idea to straighten up the wheel to prevent bending the rim of the tires and to avoid any excessive damage to the vehicle.
4. Help MDOT Take Care Of The Road
MDOT urges drivers to report a pothole whether they hit it or not. This could prevent future motorists from damaging their car or from causing a car accident. If a pothole is located on a city street or county road, it is best to report it to that city's public works department or county road commission. If the pothole is located on an interstate, US route, or a Michigan highway, please submit a complaint to MDOT’s Report A Pothole website or call their pothole hotline at 888.296.4546.
5. What If You Did Hit A Pothole?
If you hit a pothole that was unavoidable of if you damaged your car while trying to avoid hitting one, MDOT has tips for that too. Take notice if the vehicle is pulling in one direction or if the car is constantly swaying or bouncing. These are signs that you may need to get your vehicle serviced and potentially need a wheel alignment or new suspension.
While these tips aren't guaranteed to help drivers avoid potholes and thereby damage to their car, they may help prevent a car crash caused by losing control of a vehicle when trying to maneuver a pothole. After all, a flat tire is better than a flipped car.
Potholes, especially ones that take up the entire width of the road can cause serious damage to vehicles and may even cause drivers to lose control of their cars and become involved in an auto accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle collision due to a pothole, construction, or any other bad road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM today, for a free consultation. We understand that accidents caused by damaged roads are sometimes unavoidable but are always dangerous.