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Your Winter Guide to Potholes

Potholes are hiding on almost every road, ready and waiting to disrupt your drive and possibly damage your car. Understanding potholes and how to check for potential damage is an important aspect of car maintenance. It’s important as a car owner to get your car checked out for possible pothole damage.
What are potholes?
A pothole occurs in asphalt paved roads. The pothole is caused by the presence of water and the problem is enhanced by traffic. All asphalt is poured over soil. When the layer of soil beneath the pavement is exposed to water, the soil structure begins to weaken. The traffic that drives over the pavement begins to stress the already weakened asphalt, and creates damage to the road. The result is potholes.
The main causes of potholes are:

  • Insufficient pavement thickness that doesn’t support freezing and thawing periods and areas that experience winter snow.
  • Poor drainage after rain.
  • Cracked pavement that remains unsealed, allowing water and moisture to reach the soil and comprise the structure of the pavement.

Hit a pothole?
Assess the possible damage.If you hit a pothole with a lot of momentum, or even if you barely nick it, chances are there was some damage caused to your vehicle. Small, insignificant damage can develop into larger, mechanical issues if it isn’t inspected and repaired when necessary. Here are a few signs of damage to look for after you have a run-in with a pothole:

  • Tire wear, damage, or a possible puncture
  • Damage to the wheel rim
  • Damage to suspension
  • Wheel misalignment
  • Exhaust damage
  • Engine damage 

Bring your vehicle to a mechanic
After you have hit a pothole, bringing your car to the mechanic for a check up will be the first step. They can give your vehicle a check-up and assess any possible damage or potential problems. Avoiding potholes is the only preventative measure. Here are a few tips for trying to avoid potholes while driving:
Always keep a comfortable distance between you and the car in front of you. That way, you will be more likely to see potholes and may be able to avoid them.

In less than adequate driving conditions like rain or snow, potholes can be difficult to spot. Reduce your speed in areas that have potholes and always be aware of their potential presence.

Contact your insurance broker to see if damage from potholes is covered by your policy. If it isn’t, or if you are looking for improved car insurance, contact Higgins Insurance. We can help you find the best insurance for your needs, so you feel confident in your car. Visit our website or give us a call at 849-7800.

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